Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

New Soo lock holds key to shipping

6/30 - Detroit, Mich. – When ceremonial shovels bust into the sod on a sliver of land in the St. Mary's River in Sault Ste. Marie on Tuesday, the future of Great Lakes shipping and commerce stands to get a major boost. A massive project to build a Soo Lock finally will be launched after more than two decades on the drawing boards.

Ground will be broken for two $1.9 million "coffer dams." The dams will hold back the river so construction crews can start work on a big lock to complement the aging Poe -- the only one of three working locks at the Soo that can accommodate the 40 largest freighters on the Great Lakes that ship millions of tons of iron ore, Taconite and western coal to industries that turn the raw materials into steel and electricity.

Building the retaining walls will put about 1,000 people to work, and the $580 million lock project could create jobs for 15,000 workers directly and indirectly over the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Completion of the lock that connects Lakes Huron and Superior in the next decade will be a godsend to companies whose 1,000-foot vessels carry their cargo and employees' livelihoods. The Soo Locks, besides being a top state tourist attraction, are vital to Great Lakes shipping and the national economy.

"The new lock is really a safety net. If something happened to the Poe Lock, it would restrict 85 percent of our business," said Fred Shusterich, president of Superior, Wis.-based Midwest Energy Resources Co., which ships more than 20 million tons of coal a year through the Soo Locks to DTE Energy and other power companies.

The Poe has been closed occasionally due to faulty hydraulics, valves or gates, causing shipping delays and long lines of idled freighters. While shutdowns are rare and usually last only a few hours, the Poe was built 41 years ago, so a major failure is a growing concern, officials say. Between 70 percent and 80 percent of Great Lakes commerce flows through the big lock.

Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said routine delays at the Soo are usually minor, but "over a year, it adds up. Getting this project done certainly will be a benefit for the shippers."

Having a second large lock also would allow workers to do maintenance during the summer rather than winter, when the shipping season is on hold, said Gary Clow, chief lockmaster at the Soo.

More than 8,000 passages by ships are made through the Soo Locks each year. The recession has cut into traffic this year, reducing freight totals through May by 45 percent to 9.9 million tons compared with the same period last year, according to the lockmaster.

In 2008, the locks served 8,461 passages hauling about 81 million tons of cargo during the March-January shipping season. In an average year, about 11,000 ships toting 90 million tons of cargo will move through the locks, according to the Corps of Engineers.

There are four locks: the Poe, which handles most of the ship traffic and all of the larger freighters; the MacArthur, which can accommodate smaller ships; the Davis, which is rarely used; and the Sabin, which has been decommissioned. The new lock will replace the Davis and Sabin and will be located about a football field due north of the Poe.

The building of the Poe ushered in the era of 1,000-foot vessels on the Great Lakes. Before that, the longest ship that could use the locks was 730 feet.

Funding not complete

The Soo Locks are needed because the St. Mary's River, the only water link between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes, which all are lower, falls 21 feet over rapids. The shipping canal enables ships to "lock through" the varying water levels, upbound or downbound.

Congress recognized the need for the Poe companion lock in 1986 and authorized the building of it but forked over only $15 million before this year for design and planning. This year, $17 million was allocated, leaving a whopping $548 million needed to complete the huge project. Contracts for downstream channel excavation will be awarded later this year. The lock will be built in sections as money becomes available.

There are no guarantees the rest of the money will be forthcoming. But shipping interests are keeping their fingers crossed.

"The actual building of the coffer dams will take our third lock out of the picture, so I'm confident it will get done. It's a matter of when," chief lockmaster Clow said. U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, said he's confident the lock project will be fully funded. "Maybe not this year, but it will be built," he said. "There are no excuses anymore."  Stupak said the groundbreaking Tuesday is a solid sign the project will move forward.  "President Obama has shown he's willing to look at Great Lakes issues," he said.

The project suffered a setback when it wasn't approved for federal recovery act money in the spring. "We were extremely disappointed the project didn't get the $105 million in stimulus money that was asked for," said Glenn Nekvasil, spokesman for the Lake Carriers Association of Cleveland. "It seemed like the perfect project for that money."

The Army Corps' Niemiec said the lock construction fell short because stimulus money was earmarked for projects that could be quickly finished. This one will take about 10 years, he said.

Thousands of jobs

Direct hiring for construction and operation and spinoff jobs for suppliers, restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses could mean employment for 15,000 Michiganians, Niemiec said. An Ohio company -- TAB Construction Co. of Canton -- was the low bidder for the coffer dam work and is expected to hire many workers from Michigan, Niemiec said.

Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony is a special one for the Great Lakes shipping industry, Nekvasil said. "This is the beginning of a very important project," he said. "It will make sure cargo that moves on the lakes will continue to move." He said a failure of the main Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie could be "the single point of failure that can cripple Great Lakes shipping."

Detroit News

 

Port Reports - June 30

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
Monday morning , John D. Leitch made a rare trip into Green Bay with a load of salt for the Fox River Dock. By late Monday evening the Leitch was still tied up to the dock waiting for high winds to die down before departing.

South Chicago - Brian Z
On Monday, American Mariner was loading petroleum coke at Chicago Fuels Terminal on the Calumet River. The Mariner arrived very early morning and was destined for Lackawanna, N.Y.

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
The SCS Greyfox moved upriver to the dock in Wenonah Park Sunday evening after spending Saturday night at the Dow Chemical dock awaiting the finish of tunnel boat racing between the Veteran's Memorial and Liberty bridges on Sunday afternoon. The Greyfox is open for tours after 2 p.m. during the week and is giving trips in the mornings by reservation. The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound Sunday evening with a split load. The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. The Moore & Kuber were outbound late Monday morning heading for the lake.

Cleveland, Ohio – Bill Kloss
Monday the Stephan B. Roman was unloading at the Essroc Terminal.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Sunday, Canadian Progress arrived at 1 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Duluth. As reported earlier, Algoport departed at 4 p.m. on her journey to China.

 

August 8 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise

6/30 - On Saturday, August 8, we will repeat the popular BoatNerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. Pizza for lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott II mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. Reservations are a must, as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. The cruise will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Click here for reservation form

 

Seaway Notice to Shipping – Maisonneuve Region – Montreal / Lake Ontario Section

6/30 - In order to complete maintenance repairs, gates N° 7 & 8 at upper Saint-Lambert lock (lock 1) will be removed completely. Removing the gates will require a suspension of navigation of 4 to 6 hours per gate. The suspension of shipping is planned for July 7 and 9. The time of day for this operation will be selected in order to minimize delays to shipping as much as possible.

Note that the gates N° 7 & 8 recesses will not be protected during a few days after the removal of the gates and until the installation of a wooden fender structure that will be in place no later than July 17, vessels are requested to navigate this area cautiously.

 

Updates - June 30

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Soo Gathering Pictures
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 30

 On this day in 1962, the CLIFFS VICTORY passed down through the Welland Canal to become the first boat in the Cleveland Cliffs Fleet to enter Lake Ontario in 20 years.

The CSL ASSINIBOINE was rechristened at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd., on June 30, 2005. She was the a.) LOUIS R DESMARAIS and the fourth CSL vessel to receive a forebody replacement.

On 30 June 1917, while being towed out of the Milwaukee River by the tugs WELCOME and KNIGHT TEMPLAR, the Goodrich Lines’ CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (steel propeller whaleback passenger steamer, 362 foot, 1,511 gross tons, built in 1893, at West Superior, Wisconsin), with 413 passengers onboard, was caught by the current and swung close to shore. The overhang of her snout-bow sheered off two legs of the water tower of the Yahr-Lang Drug Company and the tower fell onto the vessel, destroying the pilothouse and forward decks. The water from the tower rushed down the length of the upper decks. 16 were killed and over 20 were seriously injured. The surviving passengers were taken to Chicago by train. The vessel was repaired and put back into service the following year.

On 30 June 1900, MARIAN TELLER (wooden propeller tug, 52 foot, 33 gross tons, built in 1879, at West Bay City, Michigan) was towing the barge CANTON on Lake St. Clair. The TELLER sprang a leak about one mile from the Lake St. Clair Lightship. The rising water put out her fires. In the scramble to escape, the yawl was swamped and three lives were lost. Only Captain Cornwall and his son were saved when the passing steamer NORWALK picked them up.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

 

Coast Guard evacuates crewman with chest pains

6/29 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard Station Cleveland harbor medically evacuated a 55-year-old crewman from the H. Lee White in the vicinity of the Cleveland breakwall at approximately 1 p.m. Sunday.

Station Cleveland Harbor received a distress call on VHF channel 16 at approximately 11:15 a.m. requesting assistance for a crewmember who was experiencing chest pains.

Station Cleveland Harbor launched its 41-foot utility boat and transferred the man to waiting Emergency Medical Services at the station.

“The vessel maneuvered, gave us a lee and they put a ladder down and we were able to get him onboard safely,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Martin, the coxswain of the 41-foot utility boat. “The total transfer time was probably less than one minute.”

USCG

 

Port Reports - June 29

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived at the Verplank dock in Holland late Sunday afternoon with a load of asphalt sand.

Detroit, Mich. – Ken Borg
Sunday morning, Charles M. Beeghly was outbound the Rouge River from Severstal Steel. She passed the Everlast/Norman McLeod tied up at Marathon asphalt dock, then had to wait for Catherine Desgagnes to pass down the Detroit River at 12:35 p.m.
Beeghly finally entered the Detroit River at 12:37, turning on left wheel and heading for Two Harbors, Minn.
In addition, Cason J. Callaway was loading taconite at USS-Great Lakes Works on Zug Island. and Frontenac was unloading stone at Windsor. Ojibway remains docked at ADM Windsor. She is loaded but they are not unloading her; she may be in short term lay-up. Severstal may place its blast furnace at the Dearborn, Mich., plant into hot-idle for most of the month of July.

Hamilton, Ont. –Steve Jackson
Algoport was expected to depart Hamilton, Ont., Sunday afternoon for the Panama Canal and on to California. Once she reaches California she will be towed to China where a new fore body has been built.

 

Lee Murdock in Concert on SS City of Milwaukee

6/29 – On Saturday, Great Lakes singer and songwriter Lee Murdock will be in concert on board the museum ship SS City of Milwaukee at 6 p.m. Prior to the concert a Silent Auction will be held with all funds going to the further restoration and preservation of the City of Milwaukee, a former Great Lakes train ferry. The ship is located at 99 Arthur St. (US31), Manistee Mich.

Bob Strauss

 

Updates - June 29

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Soo Gathering Pictures
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 29

On this day in 1946, the tug DALHOUSIE ROVER, Captain J. R. Mac Lean, capsized in the Welland Canal. There were no survivors among the crew of six.

On 29 June 1910, ALABAMA (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 272 foot, 2,626 gross tons, built in 1909, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) made her first trip in regular service for the Goodrich Line from Chicago to Grand Haven and Muskegon. She ran opposite the VIRGINIA. Cut down to a barge in 1961, she was scrapped in La Salle, Ontario, in 2006.

On 29 June 1902, GEORGE DUNBAR (wooden propeller freighter, 134 foot, 238 gross tons, built in 1867, at Allegan, Michigan) was loaded with coal when she was damaged by a sudden squall on Lake Erie near Kelley’s Island and sank. Seven of the crew elected to stay aboard while the skipper, his wife and daughter made for shore in the lifeboat. Those three were saved but the seven perished on a makeshift raft.

The CHARLES M. SCHWAB (Hull#496) was launched in 1923, at Cleveland, Ohio, by the American Ship Building Co., for the Interlake Steamship Co. Lengthened with a new mid-body and repowered with the stern section of the tanker GULFPORT in 1961. Sold Canadian in 1975, renamed b.) PIERSON DAUGHTERS and c.) BEECHGLEN in 1982. Scrapped at Port Maitland, Ontario, in 1995.

On June 29, 1962, the HAMILTONIAN began her maiden voyage for Eastern Lake Carriers (Papachristidis Co. Ltd.). Renamed b.) PETITE HERMINE in 1967. Purchased by Upper Lakes Shipping in 1972, renamed c.) CANADIAN HUNTER. Scrapped at Alang, India in 1996.

The JOSEPH L. BLOCK was christened on June 29, 1976, for Inland Steel Co..

The Canadian schooner DUNSTOWN arrived at Malden, Ontario, on 29 June 1875, to be put in place as a lightship. Her sides were painted in large white letters: BAR POINT LIGHTSHIP.

On 29 June 1864, ALVIN CLARK (2-mast wooden schooner, 113 foot, 220 tons, built in 1846, at Truago (Trenton), Michigan) foundered in a terrific squall off Chambers Island on Green Bay. Two of the crew were rescued by the brig DEWITT, but three lost their lives. In 1969, a schooner identified as the CLARK was raised at great expense and put on display for some time at Marinette, Wisconsin, then at Menominee, Michigan, but it only lasted until 1995 when it was destroyed.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

 

Port Reports - June 28

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Saturday evening, Michipicoten loaded taconite and departed the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Green Bay, Wisc. – Scott Best
Saturday, Maumee delivered a load of salt to the Fox River dock, unloading into a shore-side hopper rigged up to conveyors to carry the salt to an area of the dock out of reach from the ship’s boom. Earlier in the week, Mississagi also delivered salt to the Fox River Dock. Also in port recently was James L Kuber and tug Victory dropping off a load of stone for Western Lime. Meanwhile the Roen tug Stephen Asher is still overseeing the dredging operations near the mouth of the Fox River.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Calumet came in at 9 a.m. Saturday morning with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Sims Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. It backed out through the pier heads at 4 p.m., blowing a salute to those on the piers and then a warning blast for the recreational boaters. Agawa Canyon brought in the first load of salt for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg at mid-day. It was still unloading Saturday afternoon.

South Chicago, Ill. - Brian Z.
The barge Pathfinder was loading coal at Chicago Fuels Terminal on the Calumet River Saturday. The Pathfinder was loaded with 14,000 tons of Western coal for Manitowoc, Wis., and departed at 6:15 p.m. After Manitowoc, she is scheduled to return to Chicago for another coal cargo.

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
 The American Integrity was inbound the Saginaw River late Thursday night headed for the Consumer Energy dock in Essexville. This is believed to be the first visit ever to the Saginaw River by this vessel under any of her names. After unloading coal, she backed from the dock early Friday morning, backing out to lights 13 & 14 to turn and head for the lake. The Frontenac was inbound Friday morning calling on the Essroc dock in Essexville. She unloaded clinker and then backed from the dock and out into the Saginaw Bay to turn at Light 12 and head for the lake. This was the first visit by both vessels and the first delivery to the Essroc this season.
The SCS Greyfox arrived on the Saginaw River Saturday afternoon and tied up at the Dow Chemical dock in Essexville for the night. Once the "Bay City River Roar boat races end on Sunday, the Greyfox will make her way up to Wenonah Park in Downtown Bay City to tie up through the 4th of July weekend. This is the annual stop for the Greyfox to help raise funds to bring the USS Edson museum ship to Bay City.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday morning, the bunkering ship Hamilton Energy departed at 6 a.m. The tug Tony McKay and barge arrived at 7:15 a.m. in ballast from Chicago. The Algoisle arrived at 9 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Sept. Ile for Dofasco. Algolake departed at 10 a.m. from Dofasco for the canal. Canadian Olympic departed at 3 p.m., also for the canal.
Friday, Algolake arrived at 6:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Duluth. She is scheduled to make three more trips between Duluth and Hamilton. Friday also had Kathryn Spirit departing at 8:15 p.m. for the canal. Thursday, Maritme Trader arrived at 9 a.m. for Pier 25, JRI Elevators.

 

BoatNerd Gathering at the Soo a big success

6/28 – The annual Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping On-Line BoatNerd St. Marys River freighter chasing cruise was a great success Friday night at Sault Ste. Marie.

More than 75 lake vessel enthusiasts enjoyed the hospitality of Soo Locks Boat Tours aboard the motor vessel Le Voyageur, with Captains Jack Cork and Charlie Lampman guiding the vessel around the lower and upper harbors on a trip that included a passage through the Soo Locks. Up-close views of the 100-plus year-old cement boat E.M. Ford and the laid-up Yankcanuck started the evening, followed by a lockage upbound, during which a buffet dinner was served.

Above the locks, the Le Voyageur visited the Essar Algoma Export Dock, where the saltie BBC Rhine was loading, followed by a view of the Purvis Marine north dock. Cameras snapped away as the tour boat passed the retired ferry Nindawayma, the floating drydock made out of the former laker Quedoc, and assorted barges including PML 9000 and Chief Wawatam as well as the newly-acquired dredge PML Tucker. After a quick trip into the Algoma plant, the Le Voyageur positioned herself just above the locks for perfect photos of the outbound Edgar B. Speer, which offered two whistle salutes. After locking back down, the Le Voyageur met American Integrity in the lower harbor. Before returning to the dock, LeVoyageur cruised past the U.S. Coast Coast Guard base and the MCM Marine dock with its assorted floating stock of tugs and dredges.

Earlier Friday, the Soo Locks held its annual Engineers Day, with areas of the locks grounds not normally open to the public available for access. Luckily, it was an unusually busy day traffic-wise in an otherwise slow shipping season, with Edgar B. Speer, Algosoo, Algocape, Algoway and Paul R. Tregurtha all locking down during the open house. The saltie Maxima, loaded with windmill parts, locked up. Also at Mission Point, Chris Mazella from Ashland, Wis., bested Ben McLain from Alpena, Mich., in a Clyde’s Drive-In Big C 1/2 pound burger-eating contest, winning narrowly by one bite.

The evening was capped by Michipicoten passing Mission Point upbound as evening fell, her dusky passage recorded by more than a dozen die- hard BoatNerds. She was followed by the J.W. Shelley, but by then night had fallen, capping a very successful BoatNerd Gathering and Engineers Day that not only included picture-perfect weather but a steady parade of vessels.

Traffic for Saturday included the upbound Algonova, James R. Barker, tug Erica Kobasic and barge, the saltie Isolda and Robert S. Pierson. Kobasic reported it was tying up at the Carbide Dock for better weather as rain showers moved in near evening. Downbound in late morning was Catherine Desgagnes, followed later by BBC Rhine, Herbert C. Jackson and Indiana Harbor.

Next year’s Engineers Day is the last Friday of June.

Roger LeLievre

 

Soo Locks plan second open house on Tuesday for ground breaking

6/28 – There will be a second open house at the Soo Locks this Tuesday from 9 a.m. - noon, for a ground breaking ceremony for the new lock. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. All guests are welcome, and the event is open to the public.

 

Plusses, minuses as St. Lawrence Seaway turns 50

6/28 -Toronto, Ont. – – The official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway was orchestrated to be a breathless moment in history – a “flossy, glossy” ceremony, to quote this newspaper. On the muggy afternoon 50 years ago, balloons soared, guns saluted, an American president stopped by and a rosy-cheeked Queen Elizabeth, just turned 33, leaned over the railing of her yacht and waved at the cheering crowds.

Cargo freighters had, in fact, been lumbering through the new locks to Toronto and major ports on the Great Lakes for more than a month, smoothing out kinks in advance of the Royal Yacht Britannia's sleek arrival.

As it was, fog interrupted the voyage from Montreal, and the Queen turned up too late to enjoy the dinner carefully prepared for her at the hotel in Long Sault, a town created to house the many families who had lost their homes to the rising waters of the seaway and Ontario Hydro's massive new power dam.

But for most observers that day, a few lost villages was well worth giving ocean vessels access to the Great Lakes; to them, the seaway was an economic bonanza for Canada after decades of bickering with the United States. An engineering marvel finished on time and under budget, it had cost nearly $470-million (U.S) and taken 22,000 workers four years and nine months to build the vital 306-kilometre stretch from Montreal to Lake Ontario.

The hydroelectric dams – built at the same time and worth an additional $530-million – would fire up the bustling cities and manufacturing plants along both sides of the seaway. And this was the time of the Cold War, when the route promised secure berths for military ships and submarines, with quick passage to the ocean. The canals and locks that had widened and deepened the river path – silencing the famous Long Sault Rapids, which had 400 years earlier frustrated Jacques Cartier's travel plans – now made it possible for a transoceanic freighter the size of two football fields to deliver French perfume and Italian marble (as the first arrivals did) to inland ports such as Toronto before heading to Lake Superior to take home grain from Thunder Bay.

“It has moved the ocean a thousand miles inland,” The Globe and Mail declared that day in 1959. “The effects of this cannot as yet be estimated, but we can be certain that they will be very great.” Or, as the Queen put it: “We can say in truth that this occasion deserves a place in history.”

The prediction proved to be true: The seaway, arguably the world's most impressive inland waterway, built at a cost that today would top $7-billion (U.S.), transformed cities along its shores, opening new markets and churning out a reliable stream of electricity. But over time, the story has become less rosy, the seaway's place in history less celebrated, its future uncertain.

Canada paid roughly 70 per cent of the bill, and has divided revenue with the U.S. accordingly. But that revenue has yet to cover the cost of construction, and often has barely covered operating costs.

Even worse, the seaway has wreaked so much havoc on the world's greatest supply of fresh water that some critics now propose that it be abandoned as a route for saltwater ships – the very notion that stirred its creators' imagination.

“It's pretty clear that the seaway has been an economic disappointment and an environmental disaster for the Great Lakes,” says environmental writer Jeff Alexander, whose new book, Pandora's Locks , chronicles the project's fallout. “I think it would be disingenuous to hold a celebration without recognizing some of the unintended side effects.”

Mussel power

The seaway has always been the tale of two waters – salt and fresh, divided by nature but united by humanity. Even before construction began on the Montreal section, however, it was clear that mixing the ocean with the lakes came with risks. The building of the Welland Canal years ago allowed ships to circumvent Niagara Falls, but it also provided passage to the sea lamprey, a vicious “aquatic assassin,” as Mr. Alexander describes it, that broke into the world's largest freshwater fish market with no natural predator to stand against it.

So perhaps it shouldn't have come as such a surprise when, in 1988, two biology students found an unusual shellfish on the bottom of Lake St. Clair, which lies between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. It turned out to be a foreign intruder that had hitched a ride on an ocean freighter and, of course, in the two decades since then, the zebra mussel has become legendary for the many millions of dollars in damage it has caused to its new habitat.

But it didn't come alone: Since the seaway opened, scientists estimate that as many as 57 foreign species (about one-third of the 185 now on record and almost all of those that have been found in the past 50 years) have arrived in the ballast water shed by saltwater ships. They have displaced native plants and animals, decimated fish stocks, even disrupted power plants.

The seaway is hardly the only cause of the Great Lakes' decline – aquaculture and recreational boating have done much damage, along with pollution from industry and agriculture – but many scientists believe that it is responsible for the most harm, and certainly let in the most destructive intruders.

Even worse, environmentalists point out, government agencies that regulate the seaway and shipping have been painfully slow to react. Only in the past two years have seaway authorities on both sides of the border made it mandatory that all ships – including those with just small amounts of ballast from ports overseas – flush their tanks in the ocean before entering the seaway. Even that isn't necessarily foolproof. Flushing may kill 95 per cent of what is in the tanks, but a troublemaker could survive.

So, 20 years after the zebra mussel arrived, “the threat still remains,” says Jennifer Nalbone, an analyst with Great Lakes United, a cross-border environmental coalition. “It's a very sober anniversary.”

Assessing the economic value of the seaway – and whether the environmental toll and human costs have been justified – is complicated. There is no doubt that having lots of cheap hydro as well as a watery highway has been important to manufacturing cities on the Great Lakes.

Statistics released this week show that more than 2.5 billion tonnes of cargo worth more than $375-billion have passed through the seaway, most of it between Canadian and U.S. ports.

Even so, annual tallies for “salties” have never reached the predictions made on opening day, and the early glow of having ready access to European markets – the romantic focus of those “glossy, flossy” celebrations – soon faded. Demand for grain moved to the west, other markets shifted as well, and long-distance container vessels grew too big to fit in the seaway's locks.

“It was a noble idea – it's been very valuable for domestic bulk cargo,” says John Taylor, a transport specialist at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich. “But the seaway has been ‘locked' in time. The world has evolved and the seaway has not been able to evolve with it.”

Today, as Mr. Alexander points out in Pandora's Locks , only about 5 per cent of the world's container fleet can even squeeze into the Great Lakes. By 2007, the volume of cargo carried by ocean-going vessels had dropped to nine million tonnes from a high of 23 million in 1978, and even that figure was well off early expectations.

Prof. Taylor says the salties could be replaced by as few as two 100-car freight trains running each day of the year. A study he co-wrote in 2005 calculated that the cost of closing the locks to transoceanic ships at roughly $55-million, a figure that is widely criticized by the shipping industry but is just a fraction of the $200-million environmental toll he estimates the seaway has taken on the Great Lakes.

But the seaway also has ardent defenders, who make a convincing case that it will play an increasingly important role as transportation costs rise and, ironically, the environment becomes an even greater concern. Because the loads can be so huge, transporting goods by ship uses, on average, far less fuel and doesn't clog up already congested highways.

“One ship can take 800 trucks off the road,” says Bruce Bowie, president of the Canadian Shipowners Association.

In addition, the shipping industry is lobbying to have removed the 25-per-cent duty the government charges on vessels built outside Canada, which, he says, has prevented companies from making their fleets even more environmentally efficient. Steps have been taken to modernize the locks, and an incentive program lured nearly two billion tonnes of new cargo to the route last year, according to the seaway corporation. But drawing even more business by staying open through the winter would be costly, and major renovations required down the road will cost more than the seaway currently earns.

As for banishing the salties, Mr. Bowie calls it a “sledgehammer solution” that would only limit future economic growth. The seaway needs to be ready to capture some emerging market abroad, he says, just as lakers have suddenly picked up solid business in the past few years by carrying low-sulphur coal to power plants on the East Coast.

But future prospects aside, it has been a rocky 50 years for Highway H2O, as the seaway has been branded by the development corporation that now oversees it, and this anniversary is not the exuberant celebration of that June day half a century past. To a large extent, the seaway's prospects depend on the global path of supply and demand. But the next half-century will decide whether it can sell itself as a clean, energy-efficient water route and earn the place in history that the Queen once said it deserved.

Globe and Mail

 

Updates - June 28

News Photo Gallery
Soo Gathering Pictures
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 28

On this day in 1955, the 456 foot WYCHEM 105, a.) SAMUEL F B MORSE, was loaded with sand at the B&O docks in Lorain and towed to Rocky River, Ohio where she was sunk as a temporary breakwall. She was later raised and taken to Bay Ship Building Co, and became a barge for the Roen Steamship Co. fleet. In the early 1970s, most of the hull was scrapped, except for two sections of the bottom, which were used for scows around Sturgeon Bay until the 1980s.

On this day in 1957, the JOSEPH S YOUNG departed Manitowoc, Wisconsin on her maiden voyage. She traveled in ballast to Port Inland, Michigan to load a cargo of stone. The YOUNG was the a.) ARCHERS HOPE, A T2-SE-A1 tanker, converted to Great Lakes service at Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock, Baltimore, Maryland. Renamed c.) H LEE WHITE in 1969, and d.) SHARON in 1974. Scrapped at Brownsville, Texas in 1986.

On June 28, 1938, at 8:50 a.m., the WILLIAM A IRVIN departed Duluth with her first cargo of iron ore for Lorain, Ohio. 48 years later, in 1986, almost to the minute, the WILLIAM A IRVIN opened as a museum to the public.

The ATLANTIC SUPERIOR arrived at the Algoma Steel Plant, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on her maiden voyage in 1982, with a load of taconite but before she was unloaded christening ceremonies were conducted there.

The SAM LAUD ran aground June 28, 1975, on a shoal south of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, with a cargo of coal from Chicago, Illinois for Green Bay, Wisconsin. Six-thousand tons of coal were off-loaded the next day into the NICOLET, a.) WILLIAM G MATHER, before she could proceed to Green Bay along with the NICOLET to discharge cargoes. SAM LAUD entered the dry dock at Sturgeon Bay on July 3rd for repairs. She had suffered extensive bottom damage with leakage into seven double bottom tanks and the forepeak. She returned to service on August 21, 1975.

On 28 June 1893, JAMES AMADEUS (wooden propeller tug, 65 foot, 44 gross tons, built in 1872, at Cleveland, Ohio) sprang a leak and foundered near Cleveland, Ohio. Her crew abandoned her just before she went down.

On 28 June 1909, TEMPEST (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 138 foot, 370 gross tons, built in 1876, at Grand Haven, Michigan) burned to a total loss while unloading coal at the Galnais Dock at Perry Sound, Ontario. She was consumed very quickly and six of her crew were killed.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

 

Malfunction in bow thruster caused laker to run aground

6/27 – A malfunction in a bow thruster caused a lake-going vessel to run aground Thursday night in the Welland Canal.

A problem with the John D. Leitch’s bow thruster caused the ship to drift onto the east bank of the Welland Canal around 8 p.m., said John Greenway, vice-president of operations for Seaway Marine Transport, the company that owns the ship.

Greenway said many lake ships are equipped with the thrusters that allow them to maneuver while travelling at slow speeds in the canal. When the John D. Leitch’s failed, it had no way to steer through the canal.

Although it came to rest on the east bank of the canal, there was no damage to the ship and no injuries, Greenway said.

The vessel was not carrying any cargo at the time. It took about an hour and a half to repair the thruster and get the ship moving again. The incident did not cause any reported delays to shipping.

St. Catharines Standard

 

Port Reports - June 27

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Friday evening at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, Herbert C. Jackson unloaded limestone. After unloading, she was expected at the Upper Harbor ore dock early in the morning.

Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.
The Adam Cornelius arrived at Bay Ship Friday morning and was rafted next to American Spirit. She is expected to undergo electrical repairs and return to service later in the summer.

 

Dredging begins in Ludington

6/27 - Ludington harbor’s bottom will soon be deeper than it’s been in years after the current dredging project ends. The $1.3 million project started this week and is expected to last until late July.

Sand taken from the harbor bottom will also help build up the Lake Michigan beach along Buttersville Peninsula.

Tom O’Bryan, area engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the harbor will be dredged to 30 feet along its outer edge, 29 feet in the middle of the lake and 29.5 feet in a transition zone. “And we’ll be placing the material 5,000 feet south of the harbor,” O’Bryan said about adding sand to the beach at Buttersville Campground.

“It’s just sand that migrates into the harbor due to … the natural currents moving up and down the shoreline,” he said the material being moved from the harbor bottom to the nearby beach. “It’s perfectly clean beach sand.”

King Company of Holland is doing the work, O’Bryan said, and he estimated the company will move about 8,000 cubic yards of sand a day. The total project will move about 150,000 cubic yards, he said.

Stimulus bonus

The federal government had originally approved spending $345,900 to dredge 44,000 cubic yards from Ludington’s harbor, but then added stimulus money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to bring the total to about $1.3 million.

O’Bryan said the Ludington harbor had been on a three-year cycle for dredging for many years, but was changed to a two-year cycle during recent years while the federal government cut back on the amount spent for each dredging. That meant the harbor wasn’t dredged as deeply and shoals would develop to require dredging more often.

He expects this year’s project will keep the harbor open for three years.

Ludington Daily News

 

Coast Guard open house today

6/27 - Sault Sainte Marie, Mich. - Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie will hold an open house today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The open house will give the Sault community an opportunity to explore the Coast Guard Base and learn more about the Coast Guards missions. Exhibits will include ship tours, static displays, and a helicopter demonstration. You can also tour the brain and nerve center of the Saint Mary's River, the Vessel Traffic System Center and Coast Guard Command Center.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer free small boat safety exams at the Aune-Osborn boat launch and the Coast Guard Exchange will be selling snacks, beverages, and Coast Guard apparel.

 

Celebration of the Seaway’s 50th Anniversary

6/27 - In celebration of the Seaway's Anniversary, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) will be hosting an opening ceremony on July 10. Navigation will be suspended at the U.S. Eisenhower and Snell Locks from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition, preparation for this event will take place in the afternoon the day before at Eisenhower Lock, navigation will not be suspended during this period, delays may be experienced.

 

Updates - June 27

News Photo Gallery
Soo Gathering Pictures
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 27

On 27 June 1892, in rain and fog, the FRED A MORSE (wooden schooner, 182 foot, 592 gross tons, built in 1871, at Vermilion, Ohio) was being towed downbound by the HORACE A TUTTLE (wooden propeller freighter, 250 foot, 1,585 gross tons, built in 1887, at Cleveland, Ohio) about 12 miles southeast of Thunder Bay on Lake Huron, both carrying loads of iron ore. At the same time, JOHN C PRINGLE (wooden propeller freighter, 173 foot, 474 gross tons, built in 1880, at Detroit, Michigan) was sailing upbound in that vicinity with a load of coal and Italian marble with the schooners HARRISON, SWEETHEART and SUNSHINE in tow. At 1:30 a.m., the PRINGLE collided with the schooner MORSE which sank in less than 15 minutes. The crew made it to the TUTTLE in the lifeboat, although one woman was badly injured. The PRINGLE's bow was stove in, her deck planks forward were split and spread, her bulwarks torn away, and her anchors and foremast were lost. She cast off her tow and made for Alpena, Michigan, where she arrived later in the day.

At 4:04 p.m. on 27 June 1890, the Beatty Line's MONARCH (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 240 foot, 2,017 tons) was launched at Sarnia, Ontario. The launching was watched by numerous people on the decks of various steamers and on both sides of the St. Clair River. The MONARCH was built of white oak and braced with iron. She had 62 staterooms

Package freighter CHIMO (Hull#662) was launched in 1967, at Lauzon, Quebec by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd., for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. In 1983, CHIMO's stern was attached to the bow and cargo section of the HILDA MARJANNE to create the CANADIAN RANGER.

WILLIAM EDENBORN (Hull#40) (steel propeller freighter, 478 foot, 5,085 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. for the American Steamship Co., Duluth (A. B. Wolvin, mgr.) on 27 June 1900.

PRETORIA (3-mast schooner-barge, 338 foot, 2,790 gross tons) was launched at J. Davidson's yard (Hull #94) in West Bay City, Michigan on 27 June 1900. Mr. Davidson built her for his own fleet. She was one of the largest wooden vessel ever built and lasted until September 1905, when she sank in Lake Superior.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

 

K-Sea tug Dublin Sea to be launched June 26 in Marinette

6/26 - Marinette, Wisc. – Marinette Marine "walked out" the new tug, Dublin Sea, to the launch area on Friday. The launch is scheduled to take place on Friday, June 26 at 11 a.m. Since this is a private launch, the grounds at Marinette Marine will not be opened to the public (as they have been for USCG vessel launches in the past). The vessel has been constructed for K-Sea.

Dick Lund

 

Port Reports - June 26

South Chicago – Glen Stevens
Wilfred Sykes departed her lay-up dock Thursday afternoon to load stone at Port Inland, Mich.

Toronto, Ont - Charlie Gibbons
The Norlake tug Radium Yellowknife arrived in port late Wednesday and rafted to Commodore Straits. The Straits is to be inspected on Friday and is scheduled to depart for Quebec City on Saturday.
Stephen B. Roman arrived in at 8:30 a.m. Quebecois departed the St. Lawrence Cement plant at Clarkson, bound for the Welland Canal, just after 9 a.m.
Tugs M. R. Kane and Radium Yellowknife hooked up to Canadian Ranger Thursday morning, and towed it into Humber Bay, where they anchored it off Ontario Place, to serve as a fireworks platform for the Canada Dry Festival of Fire. A squall blew in while the Ranger was being anchored.  The squall knocked down the 40-foot sailboat Diogenes off Hanlan's Point. Toronto Drydock Co. was called in to salvage the sailboat, so the M. R. Kane picked up the company's spud barge Rock Prince, and went to raise the semi-submerged hull.
The cruise ship Clelia II arrived in port at Pier 52 just after 6 p.m.  Schooner Empire Sandy is scheduled to leave at midnight for a weekend of charters out of Bronte.

 

U.S. senators urge Ontario to fund Lake Erie ferry study

6/26 - London, Ont. – Both Ohio senators in Washington have urged the Ontario government to fund a feasibility study for a Lake Erie ferry that could create a new border crossing at Port Burwell.

Senators George Voinovich and Sherrod Brown have asked the ministry responsible for rural economic development to favourably consider the request from the municipality of Bayham.

The senators said a proposed ferry from the Mentor area east of Cleveland would provide a new economic corridor between Ohio and Ontario which have $88 million in trade daily.

The $550-million proposal for six modern high-speed ferries to carry transport trucks, cars and passengers would alleviate road and border congestion, reduce pollution and provide a new link between two auto-reliant economies. A downturn in the auto sector has battered both jurisdictions which could benefit from new linkages.

In April, Bayham applied to the Ontario ministry of agriculture, food and rural affairs for $115,000 of the $232,000 cost of the feasibility study.

Bayham chief administrative office Kyle Kruger said the balance would come from the federal government and local sources. He said he understands the Bayham request might be considered late this month by a government panel with a final decision expected sometime in July.

Advised of the high level support from the U.S. for the Bayham bid, the office of Premier Dalton McGuinty declined to comment or endorse the proposal.

"We look forward to receiving the recommendations from the panel, which will then be reviewed by the minister," said McGuinty spokesperson Jane Almeida.

Voinovich, a former mayor of Cleveland and governor of Ohio is one of the top-ranked members of the U.S. Senate. He is also co-chair of the Great Lakes task force. He said about $45 million has been committed for ferry infrastructure works by the Ohio and federal governments.

Brown said approval of the study would "move us closer to the creation of a vital commercial channel across the lake."

Steve Peters, the Liberal MPP who represents Elgin-Middlesex-London, welcomed the support from across the lake.

Peters said such cross-border support is unusual and usually restricted to places in Ontario with existing border crossings.

He stressed he doesn't favour any particular ferry proponent, noting there are three of which he is aware.

Other proponents for ferries include one to link Ashtabula, Ohio with Port Burwell and another that has recently gone silent to connect Cleveland to Port Stanley.

London Free Press

 

Duluth’s Vista Fleet turns 50

6/26 - Duluth, Minn. — When large shipping vessels first arrived from the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, people wanted to get out into the harbor to check them out.

Ted Gozanski, who supplied ships from his small boat, saw the demand to catch a ride and, with partners Hyman Kraner and Jimmy Oreck, began offering public tours on a boat called the Streamliner later that summer.

This week the Vista Fleet celebrates its grass-roots beginning during its golden anniversary celebration. “They started the tourism industry here with that boat business,” said John Goldfine, whose family took ownership of the Vista Fleet from that trio 30 years ago, in 1979. “All we did was get on the boat and ride.”

In its first two years, the tour boat operation, which first docked near the then-Flame Restaurant and current Bayfield Festival Park, added a boat named the Flame and replaced the Streamliner with the Flamingo. “It grew so exponentially that they added boats quickly,” Vista Fleet general manager Arnie Marten said.

Now with 69 seasonal employees and $1 million in revenue last season, the Vista Fleet offers an array of tours of Lake Superior and the Duluth-Superior Harbor from its three boats — the Vista King, Star and Queen. The growth continues. About 92,000 riders hopped aboard the Vista Fleet from May to October 2008, up from about 83,000 in 2006, Marten said. The Vista Fleet estimated about 6 million passengers in 50 years.

“It’s a great business because all the customers are happy,” Goldfine said. “I mean, it’s a boat on a nice lake on a nice day. What’s not to be fun?”

A free public event to celebrate the 50th anniversary is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday near the Vista Fleet office at 323 Harbor Drive, behind the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Half-price sightseeing cruises will be offered during the day.

Harbor Drive will be closed to traffic starting at 9 a.m. Saturday for event setup. The road will reopen by 5:30 p.m. Police officers will direct traffic in the area. “The Vista Fleet ranks in our top five attractions because people don’t have the opportunity to do that in other places in the Midwest,” said Gene Shaw, public relations director for Visit Duluth, a tourism organization.

“When people do the sightseeing tour in the harbor and a little bit in the lake, they come off and are impressed at the size of the harbor and the impact it has, not only on the city but the region.” The Vista Fleet gives tourists a chance to get close to working ships, which has become much more difficult in recent decades, said Davis Helberg, executive director of the Seaway Port Authority of Duluth from 1979-2003.

“Things were so different then — and I shudder to think about it now — but it wasn’t uncommon for tourist to be able to walk on to working ships,” said Helberg, who has 50 years’ experience in shipping. “There were no security concerns. Tourists were all over the harbor.

“[The Vista Fleet] enriches the tourist experience because there is eagerness to experience or witness what goes on in the port,” he said.

Duluth News Tribune

 

Updates - June 26

News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 26

On this day in 1942, the LEON FRASER, Captain Neil Rolfson, completed her maiden voyage and delivered a record cargo of 16,414 tons of ore to Conneaut. The downbound trip only required 67.5 hours and broke the record of 15,218 tons set by the Canadian freighter LEMOYNE 15 days earlier. The FRASER was shortened and converted to a bulk cement carrier in 1991, and sails today as the b.) ALPENA.

On this day in 1969, the new Poe Lock was dedicated and opened to traffic. The first boat to transit the new lock was the PHILIP R. CLARKE. Captain Thomas Small, a 95-year old retired Pittsburgh captain, was at the wheel of the CLARKE. Thomas Small was also at the wheel of the COLGATE HOYT the first boat to transit the original Poe Lock on August 4, 1896.

On 26 June 1890, the SKATER (wooden propeller excursion steamer, 85 foot, 65 gross tons, built in 1890, at Detroit, Michigan) burned to the water’s edge about 20 miles north of Manistee, Michigan. The crew did not even have time to save their clothes, but they all escaped unharmed. The SKATER had just been fitted out for the season and had started her summer route on Traverse Bay. She was rebuilt in Cleveland and lasted until 1942, when she was abandoned at Michigan City, Indiana.

On 26 June 1895, the GEORGE FARWELL (wooden propeller steam barge, 182 foot, 977 gross tons) was launched by Alexander Anderson at Marine City, Michigan. After leaving the ways, she looked like she would capsize, but she righted herself. About 500 people watched the launch. She was taken to the Atlantic Coast in 1900. She only lasted until 1906, when she stranded on Cape Henry, Virginia and was a total loss.

On 26 June 1867, WATERS W. BRAMAN (wooden propeller tug, 89 tons, built in 1858, at Boston, Massachusetts, for the U.S.Q.M.C. and named RESCUE) was near Pelee Island in Lake Erie when fire started in her coal bunker and quickly spread. Her crew abandoned her in the yawl and were later picked up by the propeller TRADER. She had been sold by the Quartermaster Corps just the previous year and she had come to the Lakes from the East Coast just five weeks before this accident.

On 26 June 1900, Boynton & Thompson purchased the wreck of the NELLIE TORRENT (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 141 foot, 303 gross tons, built in 1881, at Wyandotte, Michigan) to raised her. She had been destroyed by fire at Lime Island near Detour, Michigan, on 22 June 1899.

On 26 June 1882, The Port Huron Times reported that the ARAXES (wooden propeller, 182 foot, 569 gross tons, built in 1856, at Buffalo, New York) sank in the Straits of Mackinac. She was raised on 6 July 1882, and repaired. She was built in 1856, and lasted until the summer of 1894, when she sank 4 miles off Bay City in Saginaw.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

 

Port Reports - June 25

Muskegon, Mich. - Herman Phillips
H. Lee White returned to Muskegon with another load of coal on Tuesday. She arrived at the B. C. Cobb power plant around noon, and departed shortly after 10. She was outbound the piers at 11 pm.

Goderich, Ont. - Jon Stuparyk
Algowood is loading at the Sifto salt mine while the Agawa Canyon is behind the mine in the new harbor. The Federal Leda is loading grain at the grain elevators. CSL Tadoussac is still in lay-up in the inner harbor.

St. Marys River – Roger LeLievre
Traffic was slightly heavier than it has been lately. Upbounders included Algoway, Federal Pride, Indiana Harbor, Catherine Desgagnes and BBC Rhine. Downbound traffic included Redhead, Burns Harbor, Peter R. Cresswell, Montrealais and Orsula. Kaministiqua was inbound at Detour as night fell.

 

U.S. predator plane to patrol border along Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence Seaway

6/25 - Fort Drum, N.Y. — U.S. border officials will temporarily deploy an unmanned aircraft to patrol the border along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The area includes a crossing near Cornwall, Ont., where cigarette and drug smuggling have been a continuing problem.

The remote-controlled Predator B flies as high as 15,000 metres and can remain aloft for up to 18 hours. The aircraft can also take both infrared and video of anything within a 40-kilometre radius.

The drone, based at the U.S. Army's Fort Drum base, will launch from the Wheeler-Sack Air Field, about 60 kilometres north of Syracuse, N.Y.

Border officials have used the drones on the Mexican border for about five years.

They began flying the first Predator on the northern border out of Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota in February.

The Associated Press

 

Sun in eyes, says driver who tried to beat canal bridge

6/25 - St. Catharines, Ont. – The sun was in his eyes.

That was the story 46-year-old Philip Boucher told a St. Catharines court Wednesday to explain why he drove up a Welland Canal bridge while it was being raised.

“It was an accident,” Boucher told Judge Ann Watson after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. “I couldn’t see, my eyes were squinting...”

The admission, made just before Watson was to sentence him, came nearly a year after Boucher narrowly escaped plunging into the Welland Canal with his car.

On July 1, 2008, Boucher was driving his Buick on Queenston Street toward the Homer Bridge around 7 a.m.

Warning lights flashed and a klaxon sounded as the bridge was raised to make way for a ship. Witnesses said the Buick accelerated toward the bridge and crashed through the warning gate.

The car did not have enough momentum to make it up the rising bridge and it started to roll down the slope. Boucher managed to leap from his Buick before it rolled off the bridge into the water.

The car was removed from the water by a crane and the canal was closed to ship traffic for several hours.

Jacob said because Boucher has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, he will likely be subject to serious civil litigation.

St. Catharines Standard

 

Updates - June 25

News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 25

The whaleback steamer WASHBURN (steel propeller freighter, 320 foot, 2,234 gross tons) was launched by the American Steel Barge Co. (Hull #124) at W. Superior, Wisconsin on 25 June 1892. She lasted until 1936, when she was scrapped at Cleveland, Ohio.

On this day in June 25, 1892, the American Steel Barge Company, West Superior Wisconsin, Captain Alexander Mc Dougall manager, held the first triple launching on the Great Lakes which included the whalebacks PILLSBURY, WASHBURN and the small tug ISLAY. A crowd in excess of 10,000 people witnessed the event. Only the tug ISLAY remains afloat.

On 25 June 1892, the PILLSBURY (steel propeller whaleback bulk freighter, 320 foot, 2,234 gross tons) was launched by the American Steel Barge Co., at West Superior, Wisconsin. She was rebuilt at Conneaut, Ohio in the winter of 1918-1919 (315.75 feet x 42.25 feet x 24.16 feet; 2,394 gross tons- 1,465 net tons) when she received straight sides and a flattened deck. In 1927, she was converted to crane vessel, with two cranes on deck. In November 1934, she stranded on the north pier at Muskegon, Michigan in a storm and then broke in half. She was scrapped the following year.

In 1927, the B F AFFLECK (Hull#178) was launched at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Shipbuilding Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

On June 25, 1938, the WILLIAM A IRVIN began her maiden voyage for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., leaving Lorain, Ohio for Duluth to load iron ore.

INDIANA HARBOR set a record cargo on June 25, 1993, loading 71,369 tons of western low sulfur coal at Superior's Midwest Energy Terminal and transporting it 50 miles to Silver Bay, Minnesota.

The ALGOBAY collided head-on with the steamer MONTREALAIS in foggy conditions on the St. Clair River June 25, 1980, causing extensive bow damage to both vessels. Repairs to the ALGOBAY were made by Herb Fraser & Associates, Port Colborne, Ont. at an estimated cost of $500,000. She returned to service by mid August, 1980.

At 1:00 a.m. on 25 June 1878, the 161 foot, 3-mast wooden schooner PESHTIGO and the 143 foot, 3-mast wooden schooner ST ANDREW collided and sank near Cheboygan, Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac. Newspapers of the time claimed that forest fire smoke hampered visibility. Both vessels sank quickly. Two of the crew of PESHTIGO were lost, but the rest were rescued by the schooner S V R WATSON. The entire crew of ST ANDREW was rescued by the Canadian propeller OCEAN.

On the afternoon of 25 June 1885, the tug NIAGARA had the schooner MOUNT BLANC in tow while coming rounding to pick up the schooner REINDEER near Stag Island on the St. Clair River. The MOUNT BLANC struck the wreck of the tug B B JONES. The JONES had exploded in Port Huron on 25 May 1871, and the wreck was towed to the head of Stag Island where it was abandoned. After striking the wreck of the JONES, the ore laden MOUNT BLANC sank. She was later recovered and repaired and lasted until 1901.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

 

Cruise ship Clelia II docks at Port of Rochester

6/24 - Rochester, N.Y. – After three weeks at sea, the cruise ship Clelia II arrived in Rochester, N.Y., Tuesday morning.

Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy was on hand to welcomed the ship on its inaugural visit to Rochester, which was also the ship’s first port in the United States.

“We are really proud to have them here, and honored to welcome the passengers and crew to our city,” said Duffy at the city’s Port Terminal Building in Charlotte.

The Clelia II’s visit is one of 10 visits by cruise ships scheduled during the summer of 2009, said Paul Morrell, manager of municipal facility development for the city. That total is double the number of cruise ships that ported in Rochester last summer.

The Clelia set out from Lisbon, Portugal, three weeks ago and made stops in the Azores, St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Montreal, before completing its journey in Rochester.

The luxury cruise ship measures 290 feet in length, with five decks and a capacity of 110 guests. The vessel will be in port here for three days to be inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Clelia II will remain in the Great Lakes for the rest of the summer, cruising between Toronto and Duluth, Minn.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

 

Port Reports - June 24

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber departed the Wirt dock in Saginaw late Tuesday afternoon and were outbound through the last Bay City bridge around 10:30 p.m., headed for the lake. The pair had arrived with a split load on Monday.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W. and Rob Wolcott
Herbert C Jackson arrived Monday around 9 p.m. and was towed up to the ADM Standard Elevator by the tug Washington. Jackson departed ADM, again with the Washington, for a stern -first tow to the lake at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening. Jackson is headed into the stone trade in the Detroit area and probably won't be back to Buffalo for her remaining 3 to 4 loads until late in the summer, going into the fall grain rush.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Ferry service to the Toronto Islands ceased on Monday as the city's inside and outside workers unions Local 416 and 79 went on strike.

 

'Hula blessing' greets dive bomber pulled from lake

6/24 - Waukegan, Ill. – For the second time this spring, a World War II plane was raised Friday from the depths of Lake Michigan, but on this occasion timed to the strains of Hawaiian music and three hula dancers.

"The plane had been at Pearl Harbor," said Kenneth DeHoff, executive director of the Pacific Aviation Museum, referring to the "hula blessing" of the Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber and its ties to the South Pacific.

This latest raising was unique in that the dive bomber had served in combat before becoming a training plane. It's pilot served on the same aircraft carrier as future President George H.W. Bush and the plane was in pretty good condition.

It had been embedded nose first in the clay, 300 feet down, some 25 miles from the Waukegan shoreline since crashing Feb. 18, 1944, because the carburetor iced up.

Its pilot, Lt. John Lendo of Massachusetts survived the crash and would later serve in the Pacific Theater of Operations where he was listed as missing in action in the Philippines. He was serving on the USS San Jacinto, the same small carrier Bush served on before being shot down earlier that year.

The recovered dive bomber will go to the Naval Restoration Museum in Pensacola, Fla., for about three years before landing for the last time at the Pacific Aviation Museum in Hawaii. The plane's rescue was funded by a donation from Fred Turner of Deerfield, a former CEO of Oak Brook-based McDonald's Corp.

DeHoff said Turner made the donation in honor of his best friend, Adm. John "Jig Dog" Rampage who flew this type of aircraft off the USS Enterprise. "We know this one once flew off the Enterprise and has combat experience," he said.

The gift is an effort to preserve the history of the Greatest Generation "whose courage and love of this country preserved America's and the world's freedom," Turner said.

The plane had been covered with invasive zebra mussels. Unmanned submersibles were used to film the plane and install the lift bags to raise it.

Taras Lyssenko, owner of A&T Recovery of Chicago, said there are about 300 training aircraft that went down in Lake Michigan during the war, and salvage crews have recovered about 40 so far. The plane remains the property of the Navy, which approved the retrieval, along with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

The dramatic display of the plane on a dock at Larsen Marine at Waukegan Harbor drew several dozen onlookers who learned things like the plane's gas tank was self-sealing, a distinct advantage over the Japanese Zeros which would either run out of fuel or catch fire.

"It's so cool to see it," said Eric Schnell, 9, son of Capt. David Schnell, commanding officer of Naval Station Great Lakes, who was there with his brother Evan, 7. "I think this is just terrific," said Capt. Schnell, who took the day off for the event.

"I just love old planes," said Sue Naylor, 60, of Beach Park, whose office is filled with pictures and models. "There's just something about these World War II planes," she said.

The Douglas SBD Dauntless is credited with winning the Battle of Midway and turning the tide in the Pacific Theater with its 500-pound bombs and speed. The plane would slow down to 300 mph when on a bombing run with the help of two wing flaps.

Lake County News-Sun

 

Updates - June 24

News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 24

On June 24, 1971, a fire broke out in the engine room of the ROGER BLOUGH at the American Ship Building, Lorain, Ohio, yard, killing four yard workers and extensively damaging her Pielstick diesel engines. Extensive repairs, which included replacement of both engines, delayed her delivery for nearly a year.

The WILLIAM E. COREY (Hull#67), was launched at Chicago, Illinois by Chicago Ship Building Co., the first flagship for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Sold to Canadian registry and renamed b.) RIDGETOWN in1963. Sold for use as a breakwall at Nanticoke in 1970, and since 1974, she has been used as a breakwater in Port Credit, Ontario.

CANOPUS (2-mast wooden brig, 386 tons, built in 1855, at Huron, Ohio) was carrying 16,500 bushels of wheat when she collided with the bark REPUBLIC between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. on 24 June 1865. The CANOPUS sank in about 20 minutes off Clay banks on Lake Erie. No lives were lost.

The wooden scow MYRA of Ashtabula, Ohio, was lost in a terrible squall on Lake Erie off Elk Creek on 24 June 1875. Three lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Port Reports - June 23

Green Bay, Wisc. – Scott Best
Sunday evening, James L. Kuber and tug Victory were unloading stone from Port Inland at Western Lime. The James L. Kuber is an infrequent visitor, with the Lewis J. Kuber normally delivering to Western Lime. Early Monday morning, Prentiss Brown and St. Marys Conquest arrived at the St Mary's Cement dock, and Tuesday morning the G.L. Ostrander and Integrity are due in at Lafarge.

Holland, Mich. - Bob Vande Vusse
The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived in Holland about 6 p.m. Monday and proceeded to the James DeYoung power plant to discharge a cargo of coal.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
Canada Steamship Lines’ CSL Laurentien was loading petroleum coke Sunday at KCBX Terminal in Chicago. The Laurentien arrived shortly after midnight and was scheduled to load 30,000 metric tons of petcoke. Also, the saltie Federal Pride was inbound Sunday evening for Lake Calumet.

St. Marys River -
Charles M. Beeghly spent about 24 hours at anchor in the Whiskey Bay anchorage, of the upper St. Marys River. She was reported to have suffered "mechanical problems" of an undisclosed nature. She was downbound with a load of taconite and was underway downbound towards the Soo at 10:15 p.m.

Saginaw – Stephen Hause
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were back on the Saginaw River again with a split cargo for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. The pair lightered in Bay City early on Monday before heading up to Saginaw to finish. They were expected to be outbound early Tuesday morning. Also, the tug Fischer Hayden was outbound Monday afternoon from the Bay Aggregates dock with a crane barge.

Toronto, Ont.– Charlie Gibbons
The first visit of the season to Toronto for the tug Everlast and its asphalt barge occurred on Sunday afternoon.
The charter boat Enterprise 2000 was cordoned off by the police Sunday following an early morning boat party that left two dead after waterfront boat party stabbing. The fights – two related incidents – broke out shortly before 2:30 a.m. in a parking lot at Polson Pier, on the eastern side of the harbor.

 

DeTour Reef Light foghorn has friends, foes

6/23 - DeTour, Mich. – Local impressions of the foghorn at the DeTour Reef Light vary between a marine safety necessity and a nostalgic icon, to noise pollution and an invasion of living space. The Coast Guard and the Detour Reef Light Preservation Society (DRLPS) are working bring the two views into harmony.

Residents within the sound of the foghorn agree that the current technology at the Detour Reef Light is not working. Although it activates during the fog, the foghorn also will blast for hours during clear weather and continues sounding until the Coast Guard comes to shut it off.

The current foghorn is a visibility detecting device using back-scatter technology. When the fog rolls in, the micro processor senses the diminished visibility and begins the cycle of two blasts every 60 seconds. However, the experience at the DeTour Reef Light is that the technology has been enabled by cold, moisture and even the errant seagull sitting too close to the sensor. The Coast Guard, which is responsible for the aid to navigation, has rewired, repaired and replaced the equipment many times. Like the local citizens along the St. Mary’s River, they are frustrated at the useless blaring. To resolve this problem they are looking at a new solution for the fog horn equipment.

According to BM1 Ben L’Allier, who has responsibility for the Aids to Navigation at the Detour Reef Light, the proposed technology isn’t new. It’s currently being used successfully at small airports, including the airport at Drummond Island to turn on landing lights. When a ship needs help finding its way through the fog, the ship can request to actuate the fog horn by using their marine radio. Following the request the foghorn will sound for a short time and then shut off. Approval for this system is anticipated soon. When it is activated, information for requesting the fog horn signal will be published on the marine charts and broadcast on Channel 16 in the daily marine broadcasts.

The foghorn restoration project by the DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society (DRLPS) The DRLPS has received a matching fund grant to rehabilitate the DeTour Reef Light’s original diaphone foghorn system, to its 1931 configuration. The grant includes refurbishment of the original diaphone horn and the procurement of tanks, valves, non-functional diaphone, housing and piping to the original design, and a small modern compressor.

The restored foghorn will be used for educational and historical demonstrations and is not an aid to navigation. The DRLPS will sound the horn for tour groups, and any celebration requests by the Village of DeTour.

Don Gries, DRLPS Restoration Chair, said “…because the original horns are pointed to the south, away from the mainland and the air supply is only adequate for a couple of sequences, the 1931 foghorn can’t become a nuisance.”

This is the sixth matching fund award received by the DRLPS from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) administered by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). MLAP is funded by proceeds from the sale of the State’s "Save our Lights" specialty license plates. Lighthouse grants are given to state and local governments or nonprofit organizations that are maintaining or restoring lighthouses. Recipients must provide 50 percent of the grant award as matching funds. Since the establishment of the program by the Michigan Legislature in 1999 to assist local groups in preserving and protecting lighthouses, more than $985,000 has been awarded. The grant program arose from a concern about the disposal of over two-thirds of the lighthouses in Michigan by the U.S. Coast Guard and was established to assist in the preservation, rehabilitation and protection of these lighthouses.

Sault Ste. Marie Evening News

 

St. Lawrence Seaway at 50: A bypass for Buffalo’s port

6/23 - Buffalo, N.Y. – In the shadow of Bethlehem Steel’s empty coke ovens and the new towering windmills generating electricity, the crew of the Port of Buffalo was busy loading limestone onto a ship last week.

The freighter was one of the 25 to 30 vessels that dock each year at the privately owned port, which handles about 600,000 tons of bulk material a year.

About 20 miles across Lake Erie, nearly 33,000,000 tons of cargo passed through the Welland Canal in 2008, much of which once had to pass through Buffalo’s bustling port.

It was 50 years ago this week, on June 26, 1959, that President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II dedicated the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the course of Buffalo history changed forever. Today, area community leaders and shipping experts continue to wrestle with how Buffalo can capitalize on its water access for the next 50 years.

Buffalo once was the eastbound transshipment center for the Great Lakes. Hundreds of freighters carrying grain and other commodities from the Midwest had to stop here to unload their goods, which were shipped by rail or down the state Barge Canal to ports on the East Coast.

Talk of a seaway connecting Great Lakes heavy industry to the ocean had been discussed for more than a century before its opening. While many industry leaders in Buffalo vehemently opposed the idea, when it became inevitable, they took an optimistic approach, saying the Seaway would make Buffalo a large, international seaport.

“Smart men will see the potential here and move in, and 10 years from now Buffalo will enter a period of great growth,” said Melvin Baker, chairman of National Gypsum, in a 1955 Newsweek series “Our New Inland Empire of the Sea.”

But those plans never materialized. Instead, most of the large ships that once had to stop in Buffalo continued on through the Welland Canal, which was built in 1932 but became a thoroughfare with the Seaway’s completion, to the ocean.

Canada invested more into the project to begin with: The canal cost $330 million in 1959 dollars for Canada, and the U. S. spent $145 million. Canada continues to use it more too: in 2008, 53 million tons of cargo came in and out of Canadian ports, versus 22 million tons in American ports, according to Seaway statistics. Jennifer Nalbone, campaign director of navigation and invasive species for the Great Lakes United coalition, said only 7 percent of all current Seaway traffic comes and goes overseas, and that total tonnage has been declining since 1977.

“There were a lot of promises made,” Nalbone said. “With hindsight, it seems to have changed the way goods moved instead of bringing this new prosperity.”

Nancy Alcalde, spokeswoman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said it is not surprising that many ships chose the seaway over transferring goods in Buffalo due to cost.

“The Seaway acknowledges that the loss of Buffalo’s transshipment traffic delivered a significant economic blow to the port and indirectly to city revenues.” she said in an email. “Change, however, has long been accepted as the sole constant in commerce.”

Nowhere was that change more dramatic than in the city’s grain industry.

“You could take grain all the way from Duluth to Europe,” said Robert Gilham, a ship surveyor at the port since 1983. “That’s what you couldn’t do here.”

According to the Corn Exchange of Buffalo, the total bushels of grain exported by railroad from Buffalo plummeted from 59 million in 1956-1957 to 802,000 in 1968-1969.

Many former grain scoopers experienced the decline first hand.

Bob Grande still sees the elevators he once scooped for on daily walks by the Erie Basin Marina. The 72-year-old worked at least part time as a scooper from 1969 to 1998. He said there were boats unloading grain every day when he started, but that soon started to decline and, by the end, he spent more time painting houses than scooping.

He described the job as “dusty, dirty and dangerous,” and said the dust would get in his eyes and his throat. But he also said the scoopers were a close knit bunch who stuck up for each other.

“Sometimes I think about it and how it was,” he said. “I didn’t miss it at the end because it was hard work.”

The decline in grain and shipping also affected Vic Noonan, who towed ships in the Buffalo harbor as tugboat deckhand and captain from 1954 through 1994.

“I am the last of the Mohicans, the last of the old timers,” Noonan, 82, said.

Noonan used to tow ships up the Buffalo River, down the Black Rock Canal, near Sturgeon Point and onto the Bethlehem Steel grounds. He occasionally worked 16 hour days, and even pulled two 32-hour shifts in his career.

Although the Seaway devastated shipping and some industries in Buffalo, many other factors were at work that helped bring about the city’s industrial decline.

Michael McCarthy, president of the Lower Lakes Marine Historical Society, said technology advances made slaughterhouses, tanneries and dye factories obsolete. A lack of homegrown companies, heavy labor costs, and increased foreign competition also contributed to the loss of the city’s heavy industry.

“Times change, and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it,” McCarthy said.

But a vestige of Buffalo’s grain glory days remains. Grain is still shipped into General Mills, Archer Daniels Midland, and the Lake and Rail Elevator, where Whitebox Commodities of Minnesota began storing grain last year.

Greg Stevens, president of Riverwright LLC, said the demand for grain storage is up, due to increased efficiency and production in the Midwest.

His company, founded in 2005, has options on seven Buffalo grain elevators. Stevens and chairman Rick Smith have plans to store corn and other materials to convert them into biofuel in the coming decade. They see the grain elevator district as a prime location for production.

“We’re trying to get Buffalo in the forefront of the clean energy revolution by using our very large logistical advantage,” he said.

Port of Buffalo Director Jim Pfohl said the port handles shipments of coal, limestone, petroleum coke, and other raw materials for local companies, including the AES Somerset power plant. It also has spent the last several years receiving the wind turbine parts assembled throughout the area.

Alcalde, of the Seaway corporation, said the turbine parts are too large to be shipped any other way.

“As our economy diversifies, so too will the traffic on the Seaway,” Alcalde said.

Buffalo News

 

River Rouge docks provide realism for film about the Irish mob

6/23 - Detroit, Mich. – The Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co. in River Rouge has just the sort of gritty look that appealed to producers of the film "The Irishman." Which is why on Tuesday, it was serving as the backdrop for the opening scene of the movie, which is based on the life of the late Cleveland mobster Danny Greene, who came to power in the 1970s.

Ray Stevenson, who stars as Greene, and other actors and extras were hard at work trying to capture the hardscrabble atmosphere of working on the docks. And, unlike some Hollywood flicks, the terminal came with its own props -- rusted piles of scrap metal and heat-defying mud puddles.

"We love filming here. Detroit is very authentic," says Bart Rosenblatt, one of the film's producers, pointing in awe at two rusted, faded black cranes from the 1970s that towered over the set.

In the scene, dock workers are unloading bags of grain from a cargo ship that will be computer-generated, hence the large green screens billowing in the breeze. Rosenblatt says temperatures back then on the docks could hit 120 degrees, and those who succumbed to the heat were thrown into a tub of ice.

Don Taylor, an employee at Nicholson Terminal & Dock, was tapped to be an extra in the scene. Taylor and the other extras were dressed in dirt-covered overalls. Makeup gave their faces a sweaty, dirty appearance, with a grain-like substance clinging to their skin.

"My wife has been telling everybody," says Taylor, 50, of being in the film. Taylor, a resident of River Rouge, has been a locomotive engineer at the company for 31 years.

Since filming began May 19 in Detroit, "The Irishman" has shot scenes in Corktown, at the Roma Cafe in Eastern Market, in the Cass Corridor and at the remnants of old Tiger Stadium. To date, more than 100 Michiganians have been hired for film crew positions and 50 people have been used as extras.

In addition to Stevenson, "The Irishman" also stars Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Vincent D'Onofrio and Paul Sorvino.

In Tuesday's scene, Greene speaks out against the harsh working conditions and later becomes president of the International Longshoreman's Association, but his tenure wasn't without controversy.

"It is a real piece of Americana," says Rosenblatt, "when the unions were still really in power. Now that has shifted, but it is a great story."

Filming of "The Irishman" wraps up on June 27.

 

Capt. Brian Rogers passes away in tragic crash

6/23 - Captain Brian Rogers, 52, passed away suddenly on June 20, 2009 from injuries sustained in a freak motorcycle accident. Captain Rogers was riding his 2001 Harley Davidson when a deer was struck by a car on LaGrange Road in Carlisle Township, Ohio. The deer then flew into the air and struck Captain Rogers, who was ejected from the bike and landed in the northbound lane, where he was immediately struck by a Ford Explorer. He suffered injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Captain Rogers was an employee of The Great Lakes Towing Company since 1990 and was the senior captain in the Port of Cleveland. For further information on funeral arrangements contact Patrick Retko at The Great Lakes Towing Companys Operations Department, (800) 321-3663 Ext 131.

 

Thunder Bay port reporter Tom Stewart dies

6/23 - Thomas John Stewart, age 49, a resident of Thunder Bay, passed away unexpectedly at his residence on June 18.

Stewart was born in Port Arthur and attended St. Bernard, St. Ignatius, and Hillcrest High Schools. Growing he was very active in scouting and was honored with the Duke of Edinburgh award presented to him in Ottawa by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip himself. He was also an excellent 5 & 10 pin bowler and won many trophies in many leagues over the years. He loved playing horseshoes and aways had his horseshoe pitch ready for a game.

He had a real passion for all manner at ships especially lakers, salties and tugs. He made regular trips to the locks to meet up with his “boat” friends from all over the world to photograph ships. Stewart contributed daily to Boatnerd, tracking the lakers’ movements in the Great Lakes.

Stewart worked for many years at the Harbor Commission as a security guard. He also worked for Great West Timber and most recently, Home Depot.

Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 25, in the Chapel of Harbourview Funeral Centre, officiated by Rev. Lloyd Ivany. Visitation for family and friends will be held on Wednesday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Harbourview Funeral Centre, 499 North Cumberland Street, Interment will take place in Sunset Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, if friends so desire, donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

 

Updates - June 23

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Detroit River Tug Race gallery updated
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 23

Thirty years ago this morning, the NEPCO 140, carrying six million gallons of No. 6 bunker oil and being pushed toward Oswego by the tug EILEEN C., grounded on the shore of Wellesley Island in the American Narrows section of the St. Lawrence River, just upstream from Alexandria Bay, N.Y. The grounding occurred about 1:35 a.m. in heavy fog and was followed by a second apparent grounding further up river, just before the barge reached the Seaway anchorage site off Mason's Point, some four miles above the initial grounding site. In all, over 300,000 of the thick crude was spilled into the River, creating the largest slick ever to pollute an inland U.S. waterway to that day.

Seaway traffic was halted immediately, sending at least 20 ships to anchor. Within hours, over 20,000 feet of boom were deployed, but the spill moved steadily down river, coating granite shoreline, trapping waterfowl, forcing boat owners to pull their boats, and oozing into sensitive marshland, particularly Chippewa Bay in New York waters. Some oil eventually reached as far down the river as Lake St. Lawrence and coated shoreline along the Long Sault Parkway on the Canadian side of the lake. Clean-up lasted into the fall and cost in excess U.S. $8 million.

On 23 June 1903, the tug O.W. CHENEY steamed out of Buffalo harbor in heavy fog to tow the steamer CHEMUNG into the harbor. The tug ran too close to the on-coming steamer, was struck by the bow, and the CHENEY overturned and sank. Three crewmen were killed; two survivors were picked up by the tug FRANK S. BUTLER.

On 23 June 1969, RALPH MISENER (steel propeller bulk freighter, 730 foot, 19,160 gross tons, built in 1968, at Montreal, Quebec) transited the Soo Locks upbound for the first time. She had an innovative self-unloading system with twin booms. The movable crane was equipped with a chain of buckets so it could discharge cargo from either side. This unloading system only lasted until 1976, when it was severely damaged in a squall on Lake Michigan. The vessel was then converted from a combination self-unloader/bulk carrier to a bulk carrier. She was renamed b.) GORDON C. LEITCH in 1994.

In 1926, the GLENMHOR (Hull#16), the name was soon corrected to GLENMOHR, was launched at Midland Ontario by Midland Shipbuilding Co., for Great Lakes Transportation Co., (James Playfair). She was 6 feet wider and 4 feet shallower than the largest ship at that time. Purchased by Canada Steamship Lines in 1926, renamed b.) LEMOYNE. Scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1969.

In 1929, the WILLIAM G. CLYDE (Hull#804) was launched at Lorain, Ohio, by American Shipbuilding Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. Converted to a self-unloader and renamed b.) CALCITE II in 1961. Renamed c.) MAUMEE in 2001.

Launched in 1972, was the ALGOWAY (Hull#200) at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Algoma Central Railway.

The first whaleback barge, 101, was launched along the shore of St. Louis Bay near Duluth, Minnesota, on 23 June 1888. Captain Alexander Mc Dougall, the inventor and designer, was there along with his wife, her sister-in-law and several hundred spectators. As the vessel splashed in to the bay, Mrs. Mc Dougall is supposed to have muttered, "There goes our last dollar!"

On 23 June 1900, the 450 foot steel steamer SIMON J. MURPHY (Hull#135) was launched at Wyandotte, Michigan, by the Detroit Ship Building Co., for the Eddy - Shaw Transportation Co. of Bay City, Michigan.

On 23 June 1873, B. F. BRUCE was launched at Crosthwaite's yard in East Saginaw, Michigan. She is not properly a schooner, but what is known as a "three-and-after" in nautical terms. Her capacity was 50,000 bushels of grain (800 tons) and the building cost was $50,000.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Matthew Daley, Dave Swayze, Fritz Hager, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

 

Port Reports - June 22

Marquette, Mich. – Lee Rowe
On Saturday, Charles M. Beeghly unloaded coal, then moved to the other side of the dock to load ore. Fleetmate James R. Barker arrived soon after and backed into the other side of the dock to await the Beeghly.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Superior was inbound the Saginaw River overnight, arriving with a spud barge. Radio traffic indicated that the Superior was swapping out equipment for Luedtke Engineering, which is doing dredging work on the Saginaw River. The tug was outbound for the lake Sunday afternoon. Calumet was inbound early Sunday morning heading up to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Strong currents in the Saginaw River from recent heavy rains put the tug Gregory J. Busch to work to assist the Calumet make her turn up in the Sixth Street turning basin. Once turned, Calumet was outbound for the lake Sunday evening.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Saturday morning, the bunkering ship Hamilton Energy arrived back in port at 7 a.m. Jade Star, with its newly-marked Desgagnes yellow stripe on the bow, anchored off the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 7 a.m. due to high winds. She finally docked at 5 p.m. John D. Leitch departed Dofasco at 10:30 a.m.

 

Updates - June 22

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Detroit River Tug Race gallery updated
Public Gallery updated

 

BoatNerd Requests Hardware Donations

 BoatNerd is requesting donations of used computer hardware and LCD monitors. We also would like an old 8mm film projector or more recent video production equipment to use for switching cameras.

This is a good opportunity for a corporation or individual to recycle equipment while receiving a tax credit by donating to our 501 (c) (3) non profit organization. We would be happy to pick up and wipe the data on any donated machines to DOD standards and we have our own licensed software. We would like any equipment starting with a Pentium 4 level processor or higher and any size LCD monitor. We could also use small form factor PC's with any speed processor , an LCD projector, servers, network switches and video switcher. No printers please.

This equipment is used to support various features of the site and also placed in regional museums as kiosk type displays. If you have equipment to donate or if your company has a recycling program please contact us.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 22

On 22 June 1959, BAYPORT (steel propeller tug, 72 foot, 65 gross tons, built in 1914, at Cleveland, Ohio, formerly named a.) FAIRPORT) had the steamer MOHAWK DEER in tow when she was hooked by her own tow cable, capsized and sank at Collingwood, Ontario. Three lives were lost. The tug was later raised and converted from steam to diesel. Later renamed c.) TWIN PORT, and d.) ROD MC LEAN in 1974. She is currently owned by Purvis Marine and is at the Purvis West Yard at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

On 22 June 1909, W P THEW (wooden propeller freighter, 133 foot, 207 gross tons, built in 1884, at Lorain, Ohio) was in ballast, creeping through the fog off Alpena, Michigan on Lake Huron when she was rammed by the WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE (steel propeller freighter, 532 foot, 6,634 gross tons, built in 1908, at Ecorse, Michigan). After the collision, the LIVINGSTONE drifted away and lost track of the THEW. The THEW sank in 80 feet of water. Fortunately the steamer MARY C ELPHICKE answered the distress whistle and picked up the THEW's crew from the lifeboat. No lives were lost.

The WILLIAM R ROESCH (Hull#901) was launched and christened at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., on June 22, 1973, for the Union Commerce Bank, Ohio (Trustee) and managed by the Kinsman Marine Transit Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) DAVID Z NORTON in 1995.

June 22, 1957 - W. L. Mercereau, known as the "Father of the Fleet", died. Mercereau developed the Pere Marquette fleet of car ferries into the "largest in the world".

On 22 June 1853, CHALLENGE (wooden propeller freighter, 198 foot, 665 tons, built in 1853, at Newport, Michigan) was bound from Chicago for Buffalo with barreled pork and oats on one of her first trips. However, her boiler exploded off Cheboygan, Michigan. She burned and sank. Five died. The schooner NORTH STAR heard the blast ten miles away and came to the rescue of the rest of the passengers and crew.

On 22 June 1875, The Port Huron Times reported that "the Northern Transportation Company's fleet of 20 propellers, which have been idle all the season owing to difficulties between the Central Vermont and the Ogdensburg & Champlain Railroad Companies, have passed from the control of the Central Vermont Railroad Company and will commence regular trips as soon as they can be fitted out."

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

 

Coast Guard rescues two stranded at Detroit River Light

6/21 - Detroit, Mich. - The crew of a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65C Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit medically evacuated two people after another boater found them clinging to the Detroit River Light about 2 p.m. Saturday.

The two people rescued were boating near the light when one of the men fell overboard. The other man went overboard when trying to assist the man who fell into the river first. Only one of the men was wearing a life jacket.

Both men reported they were unable to reach their vessel and swam for the light. They also reported to have been clinging to the light for approximately three hours.

The crew of the HH-65C deployed a rescue swimmer, recovered both men then transported them to the Grosse Ile, Mich., airport, where they were transferred to local EMS. Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Cape located the unmanned vessel and a 25-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Toledo, Ohio, towed the vessel to shore.

"The fact that they even had a single life jacket between the two of them probably saved their lives," said Lt. Tab Beach, Aircraft Commander, Air Station Detroit.

USCG

 

BBC Rhine unloads wind turbines at Burns Harbor

6/21 - Portage, Ind. – Ninety-four giant wind turbine blades are being unloaded at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor for one of the world's largest wind farms under construction in northwestern Indiana. The ship is scheduled to be unloaded Friday afternoon and Saturday, but that could change depending on weather conditions or other factors.

The components, brought from Europe on the ship BBC Rhine, will be used in Phase I of the Meadow Lake Wind Farm, a 26,000 acre "clean energy" project in White and Benton counties that at full build-out could have 600 turbines powering more than 250,000 homes. This shipment included 94 blades measuring 132-feet long by 10-feet high by 6-feet wide, as well as 30 power generators and 30 turbine hubs.

The BBC Rhine, chartered by Baltship out of Denmark, is being unloaded by port stevedore Federal Marine Terminals with dockworkers from the International Longshoremen's Assoc. Local 1969 and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150.

The turbines were built by Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems, the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world, which has installed 38,000 turbines in over 60 countries since 1979. The Meadow Lake Wind Farm is owned by the Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy, which operates more than 15 wind farms across the country.

An earlier shipment of turbine components for the Meadow Lake Wind Farm arrived at the port on June 1. It contained 30 power generators and 30 turbine hubs, but no blades.

Chesterton Tribune

 

Port Reports - June 21

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Saturday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Charles M. Beeghly arrived to unload coal and then load ore. The trip was her first after repowering from steam to diesel.

Muskegon, Mich. - Greg Barber
About 4:30 Saturday afternoon, American Century entered the Muskegon breakwall with a load of coal for the B.C. Cobb power plant. It was tied up and unloading by 6:30 p.m.

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River Friday morning with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt Stone Dock before continuing upriver to finish the unload at the Saginaw Wirt Stone Dock. The Moore and Kuber were outbound for the lake passing through Bay City late Saturday evening.

Goderich, Ont. - David Cooper
Algoway arrived in Goderich Saturday about 1:30, through a heavy fog. She first went to the north side and then turned and backed in under Sifto's salt loader.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
On Friday, the tug Anglian Lady and barge PML2501 arrived at 11 a.m. John B Aird departed at 12 noon for the canal. The tug Evans McKeil departed at 2:30 p.m. for Port Weller to help move some barges through the canal to Port Colborne. Algocape arrived at 3:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. Canadian Olympic departed at 5:30 p.m. for the canal. John D. Leitch arrived at 6 p.m. with coal for Dofasco from Ashtabula at 6 p.m. Her next port will be Windsor.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Tug Commodore Straits was towed from Toronto Drydock to Pier 35 on Thursday, by the drydock's tug M. R. Kane.

 

Coast Guard Auxiliary transports two boaters to shore after engine fire

6/21 - Saginaw Bay, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary transported two mariners to shore after responding to a reported engine fire at approximately 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary crew anchored the distressed vessel, turned off its engines and brought the mariners to shore.

Once the engines were turned off, the smoke subsided and no injuries were reported. A commercial salvage company towed the disabled vessel to shore. The mariners aboard the disabled vessel contacted the Coast Guard using a marine-band radio.

The fact that these mariners had a radio onboard their vessel directly resulted in a quick response and the safe recovery of both people on that distressed vessel, said Chief Petty Officer Exor Padro, Executive Petty Officer of Coast Guard Station Saginaw.

 

Tall ships to offer hands-on experience at Toronto

6/21 - Toronto, Ont. – Ship lovers curious about life at sea will get a chance to sail on some of the world's most storied tall ships next year.

The Toronto Waterfront Nautical Festival is bringing about 15 tall ships from as far away as the Netherlands and Germany for next June's event.

Lead organizer Kevin Currie said visitors will be able to assume different roles on the vintage vessels. They will also be able to climb aboard a recreation of the African slave ship the Amistad, the inspiration for the 1997 Steven Spielberg film of the same name.

"These are vessels that have stories to be told," Currie said. "Many of our forefathers came by tall ships."

Once aboard, patrons will be placed into various roles, such as steering and navigation, and will also experience the thrill of climbing the rigging. Currie said visitors can also sail on one of the vessels as it makes its way to ports in Cleveland and Chicago.

Toronto's own World War II rescue ship, the Empire Sandy, will be among the fleet. With the assistance of a crew of young people, some of the ships will participate in a race along the Great Lakes. In the process, novice sailors will learn about water conservation.

Yesterday's announcement coincided with the launch of this year's Waterfront Nautical Festival, which runs through the weekend at HTO Park and other lakefront areas. The festival offers visitors the opportunity to build a wooden rowboat, learn skills such as rope coiling, sail-hauling and climbing the rigging.

As well, traditional nautical craftsmen will be at work, including a barrel maker, blacksmith, leather worker, knot expert and woodworker.

Toronto Star

 

Updates - June 21

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 21

On 21 June 1868, the D&C Line's MORNING STAR (wooden side-wheel steamer, 243 foot, 1,075 tons, built in 1862, at Trenton, Michigan) was late in leaving her dock in Cleveland, Ohio, because she was loading some last-minute freight (iron bars and glass). As she sailed on Lake Erie to Detroit during the dark and rainy night, she collided with the heavy-laden bark COURTLAND and sank quickly, 10 miles off Lorain, Ohio. Twenty feet of the steamer's bow had been torn off while the bark was swept into one of the paddle wheels and destroyed. The side-wheel steamer R N RICE arrived on the scene at 3:00 a.m. and picked up the survivors - only 44 of them. In September, MORNING STAR was raised, towed to Lorain and resunk in 55 feet of water, for possible future rebuilding. Attempts were made to raise her again several times, but in the summer of 1872, she was abandoned because it was determined that the previous attempts had reduced her to rubble.

On 21 June 1878, the small passenger steamer J. HOLT which ran between Chatham and Wallaceburg, Ontario, burned on Lake St. Clair. The passengers and crew escaped in the lifeboats.

On June 21, 1942, the LEON FRASER entered service as the largest vessel on the Great Lakes. The Pittsburgh Steamship Co. bulk freighter, originally 639 foot 6 inches long, retained at least a tie for that honor until the WILFRED SYKES entered service in 1949. She was shortened, converted to a self-unloading cement carrier and renamed b.) ALPENA in 1991.

June 21, 1942, the U.S. Steel bulk freighter EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON ran hard aground on Boulder Reef in Lake Michigan and broke in two. The vessel was subsequently recovered and, after a long career with U.S. Steel, was finally sold for scrap in 1980.

The m/v RANGER III (Hull#385) was side launched at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Christy Corporation, on Saturday, June 21, 1958. The vessel was custom designed by R.A. Stearns (Bay Engineering) also of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for the National Park Service, Isle Royale National Park.

On June 21, 1986, during a severe thunderstorm (and unofficial observations of a funnel cloud) in the Duluth area, the JOSHUA A. HATFIELD broke loose from Azcon Scrap Dock in Duluth and was blown across the harbor and ended up hard aground on Park Point (Minnesota Point). She remained stuck for nearly 3 weeks when a storm with east winds pushed the HATFIELD free and she blew most of the way back across the harbor back to the scrap dock. Tugs were dispatched in time to safely guide the HATFIELD back to the scrap dock. (June seems to be a bad month for U.S. Steel in accidents, with the June 7, 1977, accident involving the WILLIAM A. IRVIN, the June 15, 1943, collision between the D. M. CLEMSON and the GEORGE M. HUMPHREY, and the June 21, 1942, grounding of the EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON on Boulder Reef.)

June 21, 1916 - The ANN ARBOR NO 5, after departing the shipyards in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on June 21, 1916, where 3 buckets (blades) were replaced on her starboard propeller, arrived Manistique, Michigan. While maneuvering around in the harbor she struck the rocky bottom and broke off the same three blades off her starboard propeller.

June 21, 1994 - The Ludington Daily News reported a planned sale of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41, to Contessa Cruise Lines of Minnesota. The deal included an option to sell the SPARTAN and Contessa was prohibited from competing against Lake Michigan Carferry Co., but it fell through.

The 3-mast wooden schooner GEORGE MURRAY was launched in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, on 21 June 1873. At the time, she was billed as the largest vessel ever built on Lake Michigan. Her dimensions were 299 foot long x 34 foot beam x 14 foot depth, with the capacity to carry 50,000 bushels of grain. She was built by G. S. Rand for J. R. Slauson of Racine, Wisconsin.

On 21 June 1900, the wooden bulk freighter R C BRITTAIN was raised at Toledo, Ohio. She was then brought to Sarnia where repairs were made and the engine of the tug F A FOLGER was installed in her. She had previously sunk at Toledo and remained there for several years before being raised. She lasted until 1912, when she burned at Sarnia.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Fraser Shipyards to drydock USCG Hollyhock

6/20 - Superior, Wis. – Fraser Shipyards has been awarded a $1,136,934 U.S. Coast Guard contract for drydocking and repairs to the USCGC Hollyhock (WLB-214), a 225 foot "B" class seagoing buoy tender.

Hollyhock is homeported in Port Huron, Michigan. The drydocking availability was restricted to a Great Lakes facility. Great Lakes homeported WLB's primary mission is ice breaking and aids to navigation work on the Great Lakes. Due to the transit out of the St. Lawrence Seaway and down the U.S. East Coast, an availability outside of the Great Lakes would further reduce the number of days away from homeport available for operations. Additionally, physical access to contractor facilities outside of Great Lakes is limited by seasonal openings of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

USCG

 

Port Reports - June 20

Toledo, Ohio - Bob Vincent
Sam Laud arrived in Toledo, Thursday night and docked at the CSX Presque Isle Coal Dock for mid season lay-up. It is unknown how long the vessel will remain in lay-up.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Thursday the tug Omni Richelieu departed at 2 p.m. for Clarkson to help the Clipper Kira dock, returning to port at 9 p.m. The tug Salvor and barge departed Pier 14 at 3:30 p.m. and went to the anchorage to wait for the swells at the Burlington Piers to die down. Tug Mark Hannah and barge 6301 departed at 3:45 p.m. from Pier 14 for Oswego, N.Y. Kathryn Spirit arrived at 4 p.m. from Valleyfield, Que., for a two-week layup at Pier 14W.

 

Port Colborne mill has new owner; will convert for grain storage

6/20 - Welland, Ont. – A new business has moved into the former Horizon mill. The building, purchased by Riverland Holdings, is undergoing improvements to convert it to a grain storage terminal.

"The mill's strategic location between the Welland Canal and the Port Colborne Harbour Railway was an important part in our decision to purchase the facility," John Stich, president of Riverland Holdings, said from his Minneapolis office.

"The multi-modal transportation in Port Colborne which includes, road, rail and water is a real asset for our operations. There is a dock right next to the building, a rail connection on site and connections to major highways."

Riverland Holdings also has other facilities on the Great Lakes.

Initially the building will serve as a loading facility for Ontario-grown wheat destined by rail car or ship to other domestic and international destinations. "The renewed operation brings this facility back into production and bolsters Port Colborne's bio-food cluster," Mayor Vance Badawey said yesterday. "Port Colborne's strength as a point of storage, distribution/ logistics and manufacturing in the bioeconomy demonstrates our competitiveness in this growing field."

Badawey was happy to see the mill back in use. Horizon Milling, formerly Robin Hood Multifoods, was closed last year after parent company Cargill locked out United Food and Commercial workers Local 416P in a labor dispute that lasted more than a year. The plant has been shut down since last October.

"Having the facility operational again is very good news for Port Colborne," said Stephen Thompson, general manager of Port Colborne Economic and Tourism Development Corp.

Renewing operations at the facility is exciting for Port Colborne and will create new employment opportunities in not just Port Colborne's agriculture, food processing and transportation sectors, but also several jobs for skilled trades people."

Trillium Railway, the operator of Port Colborne Harbour Railway, is pleased to see the facility in operation again.

"Activities at the site will enable Trillium Railway to expand the frequency of our service on the line, thereby benefiting other businesses that rely on Trillium Railways to deliver freight locally or to CN and CP main lines which are adjacent to Port Colborne," said Trillium Railway president Karen Tubman

Welland Tribune

 

Coast Guard Sector Sault, Michigan plans open house

6/20 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Ever wonder what the inside of a Coast Guard base looks like? Just what does the Coast Guard do in the Sault?

Find out Saturday, June 27, when Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan will host a public open house. Exhibits include ship tours, static displays and an afternoon helicopter demonstration. You can also tour the Vessel Traffic System (VTS), the brain and nerve center of the St. Marys River. The Coast Guard Auxiliary will also be offering free small boat exams at the Aune-Osborn boat launch and the exchange will be open, selling snacks/beverages and clothing. Gates will be open to the public 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For further information or questions please contact LTJG Michael Panter by e-mail

 

International Tug Boat Race today

6/20 – The normally sedate Detroit River comes alive with roaring diesels and blaring air horns this afternoon when tug boats of all sizes race for glory and trophies in the annual International Tug Boat Race. The race begins at 1 p.m. at the Ambassador Bridge and runs to the finish line off Windsor's Dieppe Park. Trophies are awarded to the first tug to finish the race as well as to each tug that finishes first in its horsepower class.

It is the most unusual tug race anywhere. As many as 30 tugs of all sizes race in a mad dash for the finish line. Tugs ranging in length from 45 to 140 feet compete at the same time, all muscling for the best position. Some of the larger tugs are actual working tugs with more than 2,000 horsepower. The Detroit River boils as the tugs create a huge wake. The race features tugs from all over the region -- from tugs based in Detroit to others that arrive from Lake Huron ports just to participate in this great tradition. Tug boat racing on the Detroit River dates back to the 1950's and was originally a loosely organized event. For many years the event was discontinued until 1976 when the International Freedom Festival started the tradition once again.

In 2003 the International Freedom Festival declared bankruptcy and the future of the race was in limbo. Local Detroit tug man Brian Williams, with the help of numerous companies, individuals and the Detroit and Windsor Port Authorities was able to organize the event, keeping the long standing tradition alive. Spectators can watch the race from anywhere along its route. Among the top viewing spots is at the finish line at Windsor's Dieppe Park. Tugs dock in Windsor for the awards ceremony.

To learn more about the race please visit www.TugRace.com

 

Engineer’s Day St. Marys River Cruise
Going as planned

Arrangements have been made to have a cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. However, reservations have been slow, but the minimum number of passengers has been reached to cause the cruise to go forward. More space is available. Mail your reservation today.

The cruise will be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 26. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. No passports are required. The cruise will be three (3) hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and will do our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river.

A buffet dinner is included in the $35.00 per person cost. Dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and desert. There will be a cash bar on board.

Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. Mail-in reservations must be received no later than Monday, June 22.

Click here for reservation form

 

Updates - June 20

Power Outage - late Friday night storms took out the power at our SE Michigan data center, this has taken two of our servers off line including the Public Gallery. Detroit Edison is aware of the outage and is working to correct the problem.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 20

On this day in 1943, the IRVING S. OLDS departed Two Harbors with 20,543 tons of ore and the BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS departed Two Harbors with 20,386 tons of ore. It was the first time that two lakers departed the same harbor on the same day with cargos in excess of 20,000 tons.

The SENATOR (steel propeller freighter, 410 foot, 4,048 gross tons) was launched by the Detroit Dry Dock Company (Hull #122) at Wyandotte, Michigan, on 20 June 1896, for the Wolverine Steamship Company. She lasted until 31 October 1929, when she collided with the steamer MARQUETTE in fog off Port Washington, Wisconsin, and sank with her cargo of 241 automobiles.

On 20 June 1893, GEORGE STONE (wooden propeller freighter, 270 foot, 1,841 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler & Co. (Hull #98) at West Bay City, Michigan. She lasted until 1909, when she stranded and burned on Lake Erie.

The WILLIAM P. COWAN (Hull#724) cleared Lorain, Ohio on her maiden voyage in 1918. Renamed b.) AMOCO ILLINOIS in 1962. Scrapped at Windsor, Ontario, by M & M Steel Co., in 1987.

In 1903, the twin-screw rail car ferry GRAND HAVEN (Hull#92) was launched at Toledo, Ohio, by the Craig Ship Building Co., for the Grand Trunk Carferry Line, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On June 20, 1953, the Canada Steamship Lines bulk freighter BURLINGTON collided with and sank the Paterson steamer SCOTIADOC in Lake Superior.

On June 20, 1959, the SEAWAY QUEEN began her maiden voyage. The vessel was appropriately named, as at the time she was the largest Canadian vessel on the Great Lakes, the 2nd largest on the Great Lakes overall (behind the EDMUND FITZGERALD), and she entered service the same week that Queen Elizabeth II and President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally dedicated the St. Lawrence Seaway. She was one of the more popular and classic looking vessels on the Great Lakes.

June 20, 1936 - PERE MARQUETTE 21 was blocked in Manitowoc following an accident which disabled the Manitowoc Tenth Street Bridge, making it impossible to raise the structure.

June 20, 1993 - BADGER struck the Ludington breakwall while arriving Ludington. She was sent to Sturgeon Bay for repairs. Ten operating days and twenty-one sailings were lost.

The 230 foot wooden freighter JAMES DAVIDSON (Hull#4) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan, for James Davidson at his shipyard on 20 June 1874. JAMES DAVIDSON was wrecked in Lake Huron in 1883.

The MINNEHAHA, a wooden "clipper" schooner, was launched at James A. Baker's shipyard in Oswego, New York, on 20 June 1857. Her dimensions were 110 foot keel, 125 foot overall, x 25 foot 6 inches x 10 foot 6 inches. She could carry 13,000 bushels of grain. Mr. James Navagh, her master builder, received a gold watch and chain worth $200 in appreciation of his fine work on this vessel.

On Wednesday night, 20 June 1877, the schooner EVELINE (wooden schooner, 118 foot, 236 gross tons, built in 1861, at Litchfield, Michigan) was struck by lightning about sixty miles out from Alpena, Michigan. The bolt shattered the mainmast, throwing three large pieces over the vessel's sides. The large spar was split perpendicularly in two and the lightning bolt followed the grain of the wood in a circular manner until it reached the main boom jaw, which is enclosed in a band of iron fastened by a large bolt. This bolt was literally cut in two. The mate, George Mayom, had the left side of his body blistered and the skin burned off from the shoulder to the foot. His right leg, hands and arm were also severely burned, and he suffered internal injuries and bled freely. The vessel made it to port and she was repaired. She lasted until September 1895, when she sank off Kewaunee, Wisconsin.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Port Reports - June 19

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Chris Berry
American Courage arrived at Bay Ship Building Thursday morning to reenter lay-up. She was rafted outboard of the John Sherwin.

Muskegon, Mich. - Mark Taylor
Wednesday’s arrival of the St. Marys Challenger at the Mart Dock is for repairs and a temporary lay-up of unknown length.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
Thursday was quite crowded on the Calumet River at 100th Street. Capt. Henry Jackman was tied up at the Morton Salt dock unloading a cargo of salt. Charles M. Beeghly and Manitowoc remained tied up at KCBX from the previous day; it is unknown what the delay is. Capt. Henry Jackman was finished unloading by around 12:15 p.m. and departed at 12:30 with the help of the G Tug Colorado on the stern as the Jackman backed out toward the lake.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Robert S. Pierson was inbound the Saginaw River Wednesday morning, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. She completed her unload and was outbound for the lake later in the day. Thursday morning saw the arrival of Agawa Canyon, which called on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee for the second time this week. She completed her unload and was outbound early Thursday evening.

Goderich, Ont.
Peter R. Creswell arrived early afternoon on Thursday to load salt at Sifto.

 

Updates - June 19

News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 19

On 19 June 1889, NORTH STAR (steel propeller freighter, 299 foot, 2,476 gross tons, built in 1889, at Cleveland, Ohio) collided with CHARLES J. SHEFFIELD (steel propeller freighter, 260 foot, 1,699 gross tons, built in 1887, at Cleveland, Ohio) about sixty miles west of Whitefish Point on Lake Superior in heavy fog. The NORTH STAR kept her bow in the SHEFFIELD's side after the impact, giving the crew time to board. The SHEFFIELD then sank in 8 minutes. Her loss was valued at $160,000. The courts found both vessels to be equally at fault after years of litigation.

In 1954, GEORGE M. HUMPHREY (Hull#871) (named for President Eisenhower's Secretary of Treasury) was launched at Lorain, Ohio, by American Shipbuilding Co, for National Steel Co., M.A. Hanna, mgr.

In 1978, ALGOBAY (Hull#215) was launched at Collingwood by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Algoma Central Railway. Renamed b.) ATLANTIC TRADER in 1994, and renamed c.) ALGOBAY in 1996.

On 19 June 1836, DELAWARE (wooden passenger/package freight side wheeler, 105 foot, 178 tons, built in 1833, at Huron, Ohio) was carrying general merchandise and passengers in a storm on Lake Michigan when she was thrown ashore off Niles, Illinois. She broke in two and was wrecked. No lives were lost.

On 19 June 1900, the wooden schooner THOMAS L. HOWLAND was raised and towed to Buffalo, New York for repairs. She had been sunk by the ice off Windmill Point in the Detroit River early in the season.

At 5:30 p.m., on 19 June 1872, the wooden package freight/passenger propeller MONTANA (236 foot, 1,535 gross tons) was finally afloat at Port Huron, Michigan. She was successfully launched at the Port Huron Dry Dock Company on Saturday, 15 June, but she got stuck in the mud. The tugs VULCAN, PRINDEVILLE, BROCKWAY and BURNSIDE were all employed to free her and the MONTANA's engines were also going. It took four days of pulling, hoisting and dredging to free her. The effort to get her free and afloat cost Alexander Muir, her builder, over $3,000 (in 1872 dollars). She lasted until 1914, when she burned near Alpena, Michigan.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Charles M. Beeghly back in service after conversion

6/18 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Charles M. Beeghly departed Bay Ship building in Sturgeon Bay Tuesday after undergoing conversion at the shipyard. Her original steam plant was replaced with new modern diesel engines.

Wednesday morning she was loading coal at KCBX in the Calumet River. Lower Lakes' Manitowoc was waiting to load at the North dock.

Until her conversion, the 806-foot Beeghly was the largest steam-powered vessel on the Great Lakes, a title she inherited from fleetmate Lee A. Tregurtha when that vessel, also owned by the Interlake fleet, was similarly converted in 2006.

The Beeghly was built in 1959 for the now-defunct Shenango Furnace Co. as Shenango II.

The conversion means many more years of sailing for the Beeghly.

 

Port Reports - June 18

Marquette, Mich. Lee Rowe
On Wednesday, H. Lee White brought coal to Marquette's Shiras dock in the lower harbor.

Green Bay, Wis. - Scott Best
American Courage arrived in Green Bay Wednesday around lunch time with a load of stone from Port Inland for the Western Lime Dock. By 5:45 p.m., the Courage was done unloading, turned around in the East River turning basin, and departed for the bay.

Muskegon, Mich. - Nathan Leindecker
About 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, St. Marys Challenger made a surprise visit to Muskegon. She docked on the outer face of the Mart Dock in downtown Muskegon for what is presumed to be a temporary layup. Of particular note is that her familiar blue white and black stack has been painted black.

Kingsville, Ont. - Erich Zuschlag
Wednesday the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 visited the Lake Erie port of Kingsville. The barge carried a cargo of stone from Marblehead, Ohio.

 

Hands-Free Mooring in Lock 7

6/18 - The commissioning of two of the four hands-free mooring units in the Welland Canal’s Lock 7 was completed during the week of June 9, at which time testing of vessels of up to 160 meters in overall length resumed. The installation of these units will also permit the testing and calibration of new scanners to detect the location of wear bars on the ships hull. Delivery of the two new additional mooring pad units is scheduled for the end of July.

Meanwhile, the Seaway has gathered a significant amount of critical information thanks to the cooperation of the shipping industry. As such, the Seaway has decided to suspend testing of a vessels’ ability to stop and hold at Lock 2 in the Welland Canal. Testing will continue at Locks 1, 3 and 7, and on or about June 22, Phase II of this testing will be launched at these locks and the deep locks in Maisonneuve Region.

Phase II testing will see all upbound vessels stopping at the final mooring position and maintaining position as close to the tie-up side wall as possible all without the use of mooring lines. Once the test is complete, the vessel will be secured as per standard procedure. The downbound vessels will also be asked to stop and maintain position as close to the tie-up side wall as possible, however, the hand-lines for No. 2 and No.4 mooring lines will be taken and ready to deploy. Mooring line no.2 will be placed, as per normal procedure, on the bollard for all downbound vessels at lock 1 only, and for all downbound vessels with an OAL greater than 222.5m at locks 3 and 7. The ship arrestor will be raised only after mooring line no. 2 has been placed on the appropriate bollard and the vessel has come to a complete stop. The vessel will then be asked to advance to the final mooring position using its engines. Once the test is complete the remaining mooring lines will be secured.

Work is on-going to re-introduce lateral hydraulic assist for upbound vessels with a target date of June 29 to begin testing for upbound vessels at Lock 7. Similar work is on-going at the Maisonneuve Region, where testing will start at certain deep locks before the end of June.

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation

 

Daniel J. Morrell’s sole survivor returns to wreck site

6/18 - Until a week ago, the last time Dennis Hale sailed on Lake Huron was during a November gale that claimed 28 of the 29 crew members aboard the Daniel J. Morrell

On June 10, Hale, 69, returned to the site where the Morrell sank Nov. 29, 1966, and placed his hand on the rope that descends 285 feet to the Morrell’s mast.

“That was enough for me, putting my hand over the side (the boat) and holding it. That gave me a closeness,” Hale said of his visit to the Morrell’s grave last week.

The two-hour boat trip out of Bad Axe, Mich., was arranged by a Canadian film crew working on an installment of “Deep Sea Detectives,” which airs on several documentary channels. The filming also included a stop at Harbor Beach, where Hale was first taken after being rescued from the icy lake shore.

The installment in which Hale is to appear deals with the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. To help shed light on what might have happened to the Fitzgerald, Hale was called upon to tell his story of survival. He spent 34 hours on a life raft on Lake Huron, huddled with the frozen bodies of other sailors, after the Morrell broke in half.

Hale wrote a book about his experience and has an autobiography ready for publication this year. He frequently speaks at libraries, museums and schools about the Morrell and the night she sank, but until this month Hale had rejected offers to return to the site, including one to visit it in a submarine.

This offer was different, however.

“I just felt that, for my own peace of mind, I had to do it,” he said. “Needless to say, it was pretty emotional and a frightening thing. I’ve always had this feeling it missed me the first time and would get me the last time.”

As it turned out, the day of the recent trip was beautiful, and it went without incident. Hale spent about six hours at the site, much of it being interviewed. As he shared his recollections of the sinking and his ordeal on the life raft, divers followed the yellow rope down to the site and filmed the wreckage. Hale says he did not see any video feed from the depths, but the crew is supposed to send him a DVD of their shoot.

“I was surprised I handled it as well as I did,” Hale said. “I had feelings about not going, but I felt I had to do it.”

Hale planned to place a wreath on the water — the bodies of several crew members are believed to be in the ship — but decided against it because it would signal separation and closure. That fateful night of Nov. 29, 1966, did more than change the direction of Hale’s life: It gave him a mission.

“I want to keep the memory of the Morrell alive,” he said. “I don’t want it to die, at least as long as I’m alive.”

Ashtabula Star Beacon

 

Updates - June 18

News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 18

The steamer ILLINOIS was the first vessel to pass through the newly opened Soo locks in 1855. To help commemorate the 100th anniversary of this event, an open house was held aboard the J. L. MAUTHE. While tied up at the Cleveland Lakefront dock, an estimated 1,700 persons toured the MAUTHE.

During a moonlight charter on 18 June 1936, the TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1,344 gross tons, built in 1900, at Wyandotte, Michigan) struck a boulder in the Sugar Island channel in the Detroit River. The vessel docked at Amherstburg, Ontario, where her passengers disembarked as the vessel settled to the bottom in 14 feet of water. Although the damage was not fatal, the salvage crew botched the job. The TASHMOO had one end raised too quickly and her keel broke. This ended this well-loved vessel’s too short career.

The Soo Locks opened for their first season on 18 June 1855. The first vessel through the locks was the steamer ILLINOIS of 1853.

In 1949, the WILFRED SYKES (Hull#866) was launched at American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, Ohio, for Inland Steel Co. At the time she was the largest and most powerful vessel on the lakes. The SYKES was also the first boat to have a poop deck. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1975.

In 1964, the bulk freighter SAGUENAY (Hull#647) was launched at Lauzon, Quebec, by Davie Ship Building Ltd., for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd.

In 1968, the ALGOCEN (Hull#191) was launched at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd, for Algoma Central Railway. Renamed b.) VALGOCEN in 2005, she was used as a spoils barge in Keasby, New Jersey, until her return to the lakes last year. She now sails as J.W. SHELLY.

On 18 June 1869, a little less than a week after being launched, Capt. Luce sailed the schooner DAVID A. WELLS on her maiden voyage from Port Huron for Menominee, Michigan.

On 18 June 1858, the steamship CANADA left the Lakes via the St. Lawrence rapids since she was too large for the existing locks. She had been built by Louis Shickluna at the Niagara Drydock Company in 1853, at a cost of $63,000. She was sold for ocean service after the Depression of 1857. Her hull was rebuilt and she was renamed MISSISSIPPI. She foundered in a gale in the South Atlantic on 12 August 1862.

The venerable side-wheel passenger ferry TRILLIUM (Hull #94) was launched June 18, 1910, at Toronto, Ontario by Polson Iron Works., for the Toronto Ferry Co.

Data from: Gerry O., Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Superior’s Midwest Energy loads its 400th million ton of coal

6/17 - Superior, Wis. – A Superior coal dock passed a milestone Tuesday morning, when it handled its 400 millionth ton of coal by filling the holds of the American Integrity, a 1,000-foot laker belonging to the American Steamship Co.

Midwest Energy Resources Co., which commenced operations in 1976, moves more coal each year than all other docks on the Great Lakes, combined.

And the company keeps raising the bar.

It took 16 years for Midwest to handle its first 100 million tons of coal, seven more years to transship 200 million tons, six more years to reach 300 million tons and just five more years to attain the latest 400-million ton mark.

Fred Shusterich, Midwests president, expects the Superior docks growth will top out soon. Last year, the facility handled 22.3 million tons of coal, and he estimates its maximum annual capacity is 24 million to 25 million.

“Given the economy and the terminals capacity, our goal now is mostly to maintain our current levels of operation. You can’t grow forever,” Shusterich said. “Now that we’re at this level, we mostly don’t want to fall out of orbit.”

The terminal receives its low-sulfur coal by rail from the Powder River Basin and ships most all of it out via laker. Shusterich estimates that only about 1 percent of the coal handled by Midwest since the Superior facility opened has been moved by truck.

Duluth News Tribune

 

U.S. Steel restarting coke ovens

6/17 - Hamilton, Ont. – U.S. Steel is recalling 800 workers and restarting its coke ovens in Hamilton. But it has no immediate plans to make steel in Canada or to call back nearly 800 laid off workers in Nanticoke.

Coke made in Canada will be used where U.S. Steel is planning to restart its Granite City, Ill., steel mill, union leaders say.

"They're opening major integrated steel mills in the U.S. and they're not opening any of the Canadian plants," said Bill Ferguson, president of the United Steelworkers union at Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke. "We're making coke, that's it. "Lake Erie is one of the most efficient mills in North America. Why isn't it being reopened? Why aren't the Canadian operations being reopened?" U.S. Steel declined to comment.

The firm will begin recalling the first 175 Hamilton workers in the next couple of weeks, said Rolf Gerstenberger, president of the United Steelworkers union in Hamilton. The remaining 625 employees will be recalled over the summer, though it is unclear what work they will be doing. Only about 175 workers are needed to run the coke ovens.

The Hamilton recall is partly an attempt by U.S. Steel to avoid setting aside about $15 million in severance pay for workers, Gerstenberger said. The payments become mandatory under Ontario labor law when workers are laid off more than 35 weeks.

Earlier this year, the steelmaker shut down most of its North American facilities owing to a lack of demand, concentrating production in Indiana, Pittsburgh and Alabama. The closure of its Canadian plants in March put 2,190 local employees out of work and raised concerns in Ottawa.

Industry Minister Tony Clement has said the temporary closures violate commitments made by the steelmaker when it bought the former Stelco in 2007. Those promises included maintaining certain levels of production and employment and investing $200 million into the steelmaker.

The Hamilton Spectator

 

Port Reports - June 17

Twin Ports – Al Miller
USCGC Mackinaw was out of drydock on Tuesday but still tied up at Fraser Shipyards. Elsewhere in port, Adam E. Cornelius was loading at General Mills Elevator S in Superior. H. Lee White was due later in the day to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal. Great Lakes Fleet will be taking several taconite cargoes out of the Twin Ports this week. John G. Munson was scheduled to load at CN/DMIR in Duluth Tuesday, to be followed by Presque Isle on Thursday. Edwin H. Gott is scheduled to load at BNSF in Superior on Wednesday. Edgar B. Speer is downbound with pellets loaded at Two Harbors while Cason J. Callaway is bound for Detroit.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Saginaw arrived to load taconite Tuesday evening at the Upper Harbor ore dock. The visit was her first of the season.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Paul Erspamer
Canadian Enterprise remained at the Nidera elevator in Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon, loading grain. Enterprise had backed into the inner harbor at 6 a.m. Sunday. Also Tuesday, St. Marys Conquest and its tug departed at about 11 a.m. after unloading dry cement at the Kinnickinnic River terminal. Algoway departed Monday at 10 a.m. after delivering a partial load of salt from Goderich to the bulk cargo dock in Milwaukee's inner harbor. Algoway then proceeded across the lake to Muskegon to complete its unload. John J. Boland brought a cargo of coal to the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue in the inner harbor at 9 a.m. Sunday. Boland backed downriver and departed at just after 9 p.m. Sunday

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
The barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore in the notch delivered a load to Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg today arriving about 11 a.m. It unloaded and was gone by late afternoon.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Herbert C. Jackson arrived in Lake Macatawa at around 8 a.m. Tuesday and proceeded to the James DeYoung power plant to deliver a cargo of coal from Toledo. It departed in the early afternoon. Then, around 5 p.m., Manitowoc entered the harbor and headed to the Brewer dock with a cagro of stone.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
American Steamship's John J. Boland was loading at Chicago Fuels Terminal on Monday. The Boland arrived in Chicago after discharging coal in Milwaukee. Loading was completed at 10:15 pm and the Boland departed for Lackawanna. Niagara Spirit was spotted outbound towards Lake Michigan Monday morning.

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
Monday saw the arrival of American Century and Agawa Canyon on the Saginaw River. American Century delivered coal to the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville, then backed out to Lights 13 & 14 to turn and head to the lake. She passed the inbound Agawa Canyon, which called on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Canyon was outbound late Tuesday morning after finishing her unload. The tug Fisher Hayden departed the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City Tuesday evening with a crane barge in tow. It was not known when the tug arrived.

Lorain, Ohio - Jim Bobel
Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder dropped of a load of stone at the Jonick Dock last evening on the Black River in Lorain.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian Wroblewski
English River was towed up to Lafarge at 2 p.m. Tuesday by the tug New Jersey. The Spruceglen departed that afternoon.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday, Canadian Leader arrived at 1 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A397 arrived at 2 p.m. The Ocean Group tugs Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie departed at 4 p.m.

 

Coast Guard rescues four near Michigan City

6/17 - Michigan City, Ind. - A Coast Guard rescue crew from U.S. Coast Guard Station Michigan City rescued four people when their vessel ran out of fuel and began taking on water, Monday, at approximately 7 p.m.

No injuries were reported and the sunken vessel was later recovered. The Coast Guard received a call, from a good samaritan at approximately 6 p.m., reporting a vessel in distress. Station Michigan City dispatched a 25-foot response boat to assist. Upon arrival, the vessel began to take on water and sank.

The most important thing was that everyone was wearing their life jackets, said Petty Officer 3rd Class David Smith, a boatswains mate at Station Michigan City.

 

Toledo biodiesel refinery hit by blaze

6/17 - Toledo, Ohio – A faulty safety valve was blamed for a fire at a biodiesel refining business at the Port of Toledo Monday afternoon.

No one was hurt in the 3:30 p.m. blaze, but it destroyed one of two production lines at Midwest Biorenewables LLC, 3270 St. Lawrence Drive, which had been producing diesel fuel from soybean oil for about a month.

A vacuum-control valve that should have regulated a vacuum-refining vessel failed to work, causing the vessel to implode, said Alex Johnson, a company co-owner. The biodiesel inside was hot enough that it ignited upon contact with air.

Johnson said the accident will be cause for an internal investigation before production resumes. "We need to evaluate what's happened here. We need to find out why our safety system didn't work," he said as he stood outside his building's scorched back door after the fire had been extinguished.

The plant's fire-suppression system worked as intended. Toledo Fire Department Battalion Chief Jerry Abair said the sprinklers had substantially doused the flames by the time firefighters arrived.

Besides extinguishing hot spots, firefighters' role at the scene ended up being primarily keeping the mixture of water and biodiesel on the plant property from seeping into catch basins leading to the Maumee River. Even though it's vegetable oil, Chief Abair said, under pollution regulations it's considered a contaminant.

Midwest Biorenewables had been producing 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of biodiesel daily before the accident, Mr. Johnson said, with most of it being sold either to the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority or Midwest Terminals of Toledo International. Midwest Terminals operates the adjoining general-cargo dock at the Port of Toledo.

No dollar estimate of the damage was immediately available.

Toledo Blade

 

Coast Guard establishes Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee

6/17 - Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday the establishment of the Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee, which will be involved with matters relating to the medical evaluation process and evaluation criteria for medical certification of merchant mariners.

The Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee will be comprised of 10 health care professionals with certain expertise, knowledge or experience in occupational medicine or the medical examination of merchant mariners. Four more committee members will be professional mariners who possess knowledge and experience in the occupational requirements for mariners.

The Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee will advise the Commandant of the Coast Guard on the evaluation processes and evaluation criteria for medical certification of merchant mariners, including physical qualification requirements. The committee will provide a forum for development, communication and consideration of expert-based and scientific recommendations, will be responsive to specific assignments and may conduct studies, inquiries, workshops and seminars in consultation with individuals and groups in the private sector as well as state and local government.

"The Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee will advise and consult with the Secretary of Homeland Security regarding a number of merchant mariner medical issues such as physical qualification requirements," said Capt. Eric Christensen, chief of the Office of Vessel Activities. "We expect the advisory committee to be an unparalleled information and knowledge base that will provide keen insight into the required merchant mariner medical evaluation processes."

People interested in serving on the committee should contact Lt. J. Court Smith at (202) 372-1128 or e-mail james.c.smith1@uscg.mil

 

Coast Guard finds 'missing' boater

6/17 - Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard at Marblehead launched a search for what they thought was a person in the water, but found a sleeping boater instead.

Petty Officer Jason Perkins said the coast guard was notified Monday at about 9:15 p.m. of an anchored boat from New Jersey with no one aboard.

The Detroit sector of the coast guard launched a helicopter search but found the man shortly after, unharmed and sleeping on his boat.

Sandusky Register

 

Ride the Badger on the Fourth of July shoreline cruise

6/17 - Ludington, Mich. – Lake Michigan Carferry is passengers to make their holiday special by coming aboard the S.S. Badger for a Fourth of July Shoreline Cruise. From 9-11 p.m., dance to the hits of DJ David Walley in the Cabana Lounge while watching the fireworks from the lake.

Passengers will board at 8 p.m. The ship will cruise along the Ludington shoreline until sunset, and then get into position outside the breakwall to give guests a view of the waterfront fireworks display. Ticket price of $39 per person includes the all-you-can-eat Badger Picnic Buffet and soft drinks. A cash bar will be available with drink specials.

Space is limited, and the cruise will go on rain or shine. Tickets must be purchased in advance by stopping by the ticket office or by calling 800-841-4243. Tickets are $39 per person and include a Badger Picnic Buffet. Children under 3 are free.

Click here for details

 

Engineer’s Day St. Marys River Cruise

Arrangements have been made to have a cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. However, reservations have been slow and could cause the cruise to be canceled. More than 50 passengers are needed to breakeven, please send your reservation in the mail this week.

The cruise will be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 26. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. No passports are required. The cruise will be three (3) hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and will do our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river.

A buffet dinner is included in the $35.00 per person cost. Dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and desert. There will be a cash bar on board.

Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. Mail-in reservations must be received no later than Monday, June 22.

Click here for reservation form

 

Updates - June 17

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Today in Great Lakes History - June 17

On June 17, 1895, the J. W. Westcott Co., inaugurated its unique mail delivery service.

On 17 June 1878, the Canadian schooner JAMES SCOTT of Port Burwell capsized and sank in Lake Erie. The captain's wife, their child and two seamen were drowned.

The wooden schooner MONTEREY, which stranded on Sleeping Bear Point on Lake Michigan in early December 1890, was released on 17 June 1891.

The SCOTT MISENER (Hull#11) was christened on June 17, 1951, for Colonial Steamships Ltd. She was the first vessel built at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. Renamed b.) JOHN E. F. MISENER in 1954. She was scrapped at Cartagena, Columbia, in 1986.

The PATERSON of 1954, collided with the steamer EDMUND W. MUDGE in 1957, in fog on the St. Clair River opposite Marine City, Michigan.

The WILLIAM A. IRVIN was towed to the Duluth Convention Center on June 17, 1986, by the tugs SIOUX and DAKOTA to be on station as a museum ship at the new $3 million convention facility.

June 17, 1998 - The barge PERE MARQUETTE 41 and tug UNDAUNTED arrived Ludington, Michigan from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, after the remainder of the conversion there.

The propeller OWEN SOUND was launched at Collingwood, Ontario, on 17 June 1875. She measured 900 tons and could carry 30,000 bushels of grain.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Detroit Marine Historian, Marine Historical Society's Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Lakes coal trade struggles again in May

6/16 - Cleveland, Ohio - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes continued to reflect the state of the economy in May. Loadings totaled 3.6 million tons, a decrease of 17 percent compared to a year ago.

Only one dock, Superior Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior, Wis., surpassed its total of a year ago. SMET shipped 2.4 million tons, an increase of about 70,000 tons. The largest cargo loaded at SMET in May was 66,614 tons.

Other coal ports that shipped in May saw their loadings fall by about 30 percent. Two docks did not load any coal in May.

For the year, coal shipments stand at 7.3 million tons, a decrease of 35 percent compared to a year ago.

Lake Carriers' Association

 

Coast Guard vessels get summer tune-up at Fraser

6/16 - Superior, Wisc. – Workers at Fraser Shipyards are keeping busy this summer, thanks largely to a couple million dollars worth of new work it has picked up from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Superior shipyard expects this week to finish repairs to the Mackinaw, the Coast Guard’s largest icebreeaker on the Great Lakes, and Fraser has appointments to move the cutters Alder and Hollyhock into drydock next.

“We’re seeing a fairly significant increase in revenue for the summer because of the Coast Guard work,” said Gene Walroos, Fraser Shipyards’ general manager. “We’ve done work for the Coast Guard in the past, but it hasn’t been frequent,” he said.

That’s changing as Fraser has begun to actively pursue Coast Guard work. This is the Mackinaw’s first time at Fraser. The vessel’s predecessor, the original Mackinaw, last called on Fraser in the late 1990s. Up until now, the modern Mac has primarily turned to a shipyard in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., for repairs and maintenance.

“It’s nice to see another Great Lakes shipyard pursuing Coast Guard work,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Scott Smith. “It’s always good to have options.” Smith said the Mackinaw required emergency repairs when its starboard Azipod developed a small leak. The icebreaker has two Azipod thrusters each with a 360-degree turning radius that are used to to propel and position the vessel.

“These are ice-breaking vessels. And that work puts a lot of wear and tear on our ships,” said Chief Robert Lanier, assistant public affairs director for the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland.

The summer months are an ideal time to undertake repairs and maintenance work to ensure that vessels are ready for action when needed, he said.

Smith said Coast Guard vessels are busiest in the spring, fall and winter, tending buoys and breaking ice.

Landing some summer work is good for Fraser, too. The company’s busiest time of year is during the winter layup, with work on commercial vessels typically dropping off as the shipping season begins. The shipyard’s staff drops from more than 100 people during the winter berthing season to a core group of about 20 people during the summer months. Walroos expects he won’t need any extra staff to tackle the Coast Guard projects.

The summer work is especially welcome this year, after a lackluster winter. Of the 12 lakers that wintered in the Twin Ports this year, two never set sail – American Victory and Kaye E. Barker. Walroos said these two vessels normally would have generated work for Fraser, but not this past winter.

Also, a number of lakers have tied up after the start of the shipping season, because of the national recession and the lack of work that has resulted. Reduced wear on fleets probably will result in less demand for repairs and maintenance during the coming winter, as well.

Landing work with the Coast Guard hasn’t been easy. Fraser has had to cope with a multitude of new forms and documents associated with the government bid process. Walroos diplomatically referred to the Coast Guard as a “particular” customer and acknowledged that dealing with the sea of paperwork has sometimes been a challenge.

But Walroos said Fraser now is beginning to benefit from a growing familiarity with the process. Keeping Fraser, the Twin Ports’ only commercial shipyard, healthy and viable is vital to local shipping operations, said Jim Sharrow, facilities manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. That’s all the more important considering how busy the Duluth and Superior shipping facilities are.

“As the busiest port on the Great Lakes, Fraser is very important for us,” he said. The shipyard is equally important during the off-season for lakers, said Andy Lisak, executive director of the Development Association, a group dedicated to promoting economic growth in Northwestern Wisconsin.

“Because of Fraser, we see vessels wintering here, and every vessel represents a significant amount of income,” Lisak said. “Without Fraser, much of that work would go elsewhere.” Each laker undergoes about $500,000 to $800,000 worth of work during a normal winter layup.

Duluth News Tribune

 

Port Reports - June 16

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Monday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, John G. Munson unloaded coal into the Wisconsin Electric hopper for the second time this season.

Erie, Pa. - Mark Mills
Presque Isle departed Erie Monday morning heading upbound for Duluth. The 1000-foot tug and barge were in port for repairs to the starboard shaft seal.

 

Coast Guard halts new Detroit bridge project

6/16 - Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Coast Guard issued an abeyance letter Monday suspending the Coast Guard bridge permit application process for the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project in Detroit, Mich.

The suspension of the bridge permit application process includes all final agency decisions regarding the National Environmental Policy Act environmental analysis process and the Coast Guard Bridge Permit.

The Detroit International Bridge Company proposes to construct a six-lane, cable-stayed bridge across the Detroit River, just west of and adjacent to the existing four-lane Ambassador Bridge. Prior to commencing construction, the Detroit International Bridge Company must first obtain a Coast Guard Bridge Permit because the proposed structure crosses a navigable waterway of the United States.

The Coast Guard is aware that the City of Detroit has determined that the Detroit International Bridge Company currently does not have the right to build on City of Detroit owned property at Riverside Park. The Coast Guard also recognizes that the Michigan Department of Transportation believes the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project, as currently constructed, is not being implemented by Detroit International Bridge Company per the project's contractual agreement with the Michigan Department of Transportation. As a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has expressed concern that the efficacy of the National Environmental Policy Act analysis contained in the Coast Guard Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project Final Environmental Assessment cannot be determined.

If the Michigan Department of Transportation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are correct, the changes in the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project will create a potential for significant environmental impact. The Coast Guard has advised the Detroit International Bridge Company that it will not proceed until these matters are resolved.

Additionally, there are unresolved matters involving bridge pier construction activities inside the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Plaza that affect the final configuration of traffic patterns. This impacts the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project since there is a clear link between both projects through the bridge plaza; therefore, the accuracy of the environmental analysis contained in the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project Final Environmental Assessment is in question.

USCG

 

Updates - June 16

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Today in Great Lakes History - June 16

On 16 June 1891, Alexander Mc Dougall himself took his brand-new whaleback steamer JOSEPH L. COLBY (steel propeller whaleback freighter, 265 foot, 1,245 gross tons, built in 1890, at W. Superior, Wisconsin) down the St. Lawrence River to the sea. The double hulled COLBY left Prescott, Ontario at 3:00 p.m., drawing six feet nine inches aft and five feet six inches forward and started on her wild ride through the rapids. The whaleback freighter plowed through the Galops , Iroquois , Long Sault, Coteau, Cedar, Split Rock and Cascade Rapids. She grated the bottom a number of times and had a number of close calls. Captain Mc Dougall stood immobile throughout the trip but great beads of perspiration broke out on his forehead. When the vessel finally made it through the Cascades and was safe on Lake St. Louis, the French Canadian pilot left and the crew let out shouts of joy with the whistle blowing. The COLBY was the first screw steamer to attempt running the rapids.

On 16 June 1892, GENERAL BURNSIDE (3-mast wooden schooner, 138 foot, 308 gross tons, built in 1862, at Wolfe Island, Ontario) foundered in a powerful northwest gale on Lake Erie near Southeast Shoal Light. Her crew was rescued by the tug GREGORY.

The steamer UNIQUE (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 163 foot, 381 gross tons) was built by Alexander Anderson at Marine City, Michigan. She was launched stern first at 3:00 p.m. on 16 June 1894. There was quite a crowd assembled to watch the launch. While waiting for the launch, Engineer Merrill of the steamer MARY composed the following verse:

"The new steamer Unique
Made a beautiful suique
On a direction oblique
Into a big crique,
So to spique."

The vessel was painted a bright yellow up to the promenade deck with white cabins and upper works. In 1901, she left the upper Lakes and was chartered for the Thousand Islands cruise trade. Later that year, she was sold to Philadelphia buyers for Delaware River service. Her upper cabins were removed in 1904, when she was rebuilt as a yacht. She lasted until 20 November 1915, when she burned to a total loss in New York harbor. 

On 16 June 1905, at 2:00 a.m., a fire was discovered around the smoke stack of the North Shore Navigation Company's CITY OF COLLINGWOOD (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 213 foot, 1,387 gross tons, built in 1893, at Owen Sound, Ontario) burned at the Grand Trunk Railway docks at Collingwood, Ontario and was destroyed along with the dock and nearby sheds. Four died, but most of crew jumped overboard. Captain Wright had gone to his home on Pine St. about an hour before and was preparing for bed when he heard four whistles sounded by the steamer BRITTANIC which was laying alongside. He ran to the dock, went aboard and woke the 1st mate J. D. Montgomery and a wheelsman. They had to jump to the dock to escape the flames. James Meade, Lyman Finch, A. McClellan, and another unidentified crewmember who had just joined the vessel at the Soo were all sleeping in the forecastle and lost their lives.

In 1967, the FEUX FOLLETS (Hull#188) was launched at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Papachristidis Co. Ltd. She was the last steam powered lake ship. Renamed in 1972, she sails today as the b.) CANADIAN LEADER

Upbound in the Welland Canal on June 16, 1963, loaded with iron ore for Chicago, U.S. Steel's BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS suffered bow damage in collision with Canadian steamer RALPH S. MISENER.

In 1918, the WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR was in collision with the steamer GEORGE W. PERKINS in Duluth Harbor resulting in damage of $5,000 to both vessels.

On 16 June 1861, ANDOVER (2-mast wooden schooner, 98 foot, 190 tons, built in 1844, at Black River, Ohio) was carrying lumber in a storm and ground on Pointe aux Barques reef on Lake Huron. Though not thought to be seriously damaged, she resisted all efforts by the tug ZOUAVE to release her. She was finally stripped and abandoned.

On 16 June 1887, CHAMPLAIN (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 135 foot, 438 gross tons, built in 1870, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying passengers, merchandise and horses on Lake Michigan when an engine room lamp exploded. The fire spread so quickly that the pumps could not be started. She headed for Fisherman's Island, Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, but struck a bar and sank a mile short of the beach. 22 of the 57 persons aboard died, most from drowning. Although initially declared a total loss, the hull was towed into Harbor Springs, Michigan, then taken to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and rebuilt as CITY OF CHARLEVOIX. She was also lengthened to 165 foot. She lasted until 1924, when she burned at her lay-up dock in Manistee, Michigan. At that time, she was named KANSAS.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II, the Fr. Dowling Collection and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Buffalo fire tug Edward M. Cotter fights waterfront fire

6/15 - Buffalo, N.Y. - The fire tug Edward M Cotter spent the last few days up the Buffalo River fighting a fire through Sunday morning. A large storage building located on the old Donner-Hanna Coke Oven property in South Buffalo experienced a large fire on Friday night. Recyclable materials stored inside the nearly 600-foot-long structure were burning hot enough to send 65-foot flames into the air and melt the steel beams holding the roof up.

Ground-based fire engines were lined up three in a row to try to get water pumped to the fire from hydrants located on nearby Abby Street without much success. The Cotter was called to the scene around 8 p.m. Friday night, but had trouble getting up through the CSX railroad bridges downriver from the fire. A breakdown with the recently rebuilt Main Line River Bridge delayed the Cotter about 45 minutes until a technician could be called to the scene and get the bridge up. Once on location, the Cotter tied up to the old Republic Steel Ore Dock off Turning Basin #3, just below the South Park Ave. bridge. Nearly 500 feet of 5-inch line were run back to the building and the Cotter pumped continuously for 20 hours.

Once the blaze was put down, the fireboat headed back to her dock around 8 a.m., again delayed by CSX bridge problems, arriving back at the Michigan Street Slip at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Brian Wroblewski

 

Port Reports - June 15

South Chicago - Lou Gerard
St. Marys Challenger was inbound on the Calumet River at South Chicago with a load for the cement terminal at Lake Calumet on Sunday morning around 9:30 a.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc was inbound the Saginaw River Sunday morning, traveling upriver to unload at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. She had completed her unload by Sunday evening, turned in the Sixth Street turning basin, and was outbound for the lake. She passed through Bay City around 10:30pm.

Erie, Pa. - Hugh W. Gillett
Presque Isle remained at the Mountfort dock in Erie, Pa, Sunday undergoing repairs to a shaft seal. Repair crews are using a portable coffer dam.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian Wroblewski
Spruceglen was eastbound on Lake Erie Sunday for the Gateway Trade Terminal in Lackawanna. She was expected to enter the South Entrance Channel by 7 p.m. The tug Karen Andrie and barge Endeavour are expected to depart some time midnight

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday the bunkering ship Hamilton Energy arrived at 8:30 a.m. from Port Weller. Quebecois arrived at 11:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. The saltie Federal Pride arrived at 1:30 p.m. with steel products. John B Aird arrived at 4:30 p.m. On Sunday, Algowood departed Dofasco with petroleum coke for Sept. Ile. Federal Pride departed at 12:30 p.m. for the canal. Quebecois departed at 6 p.m. from Dofasco and the Atlantic Huron arrived at 8 p.m. for US Steel.

 

Updates - June 15

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Today in Great Lakes History - June 15

On this day in 1967, the new $6 million Allouez taconite pellet handling facility in Superior, Wisconsin, was dedicated. The first cargo of 18,145 tons of pellets was loaded into the holds of the Hanna Mining Company freighter JOSEPH H. THOMPSON.

GRECIAN (steel propeller freighter, 296 foot, 2,348 gross tons, built in 1891, at Cleveland, Ohio) was being towed by the steamer SIR HENRY BESSEMER from Detour to Detroit. The GRECIAN had sunk on 07 June 1906, when she struck a rock and she was being towed with a temporary patch over the hole. The patch did not hold and on 15 June 1906, the GRECIAN sank off Alpena, Michigan. The crew abandoned ship and they were picked up by the BESSEMER.

At midnight, on Saturday, 15 June 1901, OMAR D. CONGER (wooden propeller ferry, 92 foot, 199 gross tons, built in 1882, at Port Huron, Michigan) burned at her dock on the Black River in Port Huron, Michigan. Her upper works were destroyed, but she was repaired and put back in service. She lasted until 1922, when her boiler exploded, killing four people and destroying the vessel.

On June 15, 1943, the D.M. CLEMSON collided with and sank the GEORGE M. HUMPHREY in the Straits of Mackinac. Both of these 600-footers recovered for long careers. The D.M. CLEMSON was sold for scrap in 1980. The GEORGE M. HUMPHREY was recovered over a year later, renamed the b.) CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN, later converted to a self-unloader, and finished her career as the d.) CONSUMERS POWER at the end of the 1985, season before being scrapped in 1988.

In 1989, the ROGER M. KYES was rechristened b.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS by American Steamship Co..

The wooden 180 foot schooner JOHN A. FRANCOMB was launched at West Bay City, Michigan, on 15 June 1889. She was built by F. W. Wheeler & Co. (Hull #61). She lasted until she was abandoned at Bay City in 1934.

GRECIAN (steel propeller freighter, 296 foot, 2,348 gross tons, built in 1891, at Cleveland, Ohio by Globe Iron Works (Hull#40) had struck a rock near Detour, Michigan, on 7 June 1906, but made dock at Detour before settling on bottom.. After her cargo was removed, she was raised, and towed by her fleet mate SIR HENRY BESSEMER, bound for Detroit Shipbuilding Co. in Wyandotte, Michigan, for repairs, relying on air pressure in her sealed holds to keep her afloat. However, on 15 June 1906, her holds began to fill with water and she sank in Lake Huron off Thunder Bay. Her crew was rescued by SIR HENRY BESSEMER.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Port Reports - June 14

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Saturday morning at the Upper Harbor, American Courage loaded ore after sailing light from Superior. She last visited Marquette in June of 2007.

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Chris Wesendorf
Saturday was a busy day at the Soo Locks, upbound included the Indiana Harbor, Algoisle, Michipoten, Saginaw, Montealis, CSL Niagara. Downbound was American Mariner, Peter R. Cresswell, John J. Boland, Cuyahoga, American Century. Robert Pierson also made a delivery to Algoma Steel from Marquette and the Canadian Olympic was upbound and the American Courage was downbound in the system.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Manitowoc arrived in the Thunder Bay River around 10 a.m. on Saturday. It tied up and unloaded coal for the DPI Plant. By early afternoon the Manitowoc departed the river and was headed to Stoneport.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Saturday afternoon the new asphalt barge Endevour with the newly rebuilt tug Karen Andrie in the notch was inbound for Tonawanda with her first. At 8:30 p.m. the tug was outboard from the barge at the Noco Product Terminal. At that time they were finished with the final attachments to the discharge line on the barge.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric holmes
Wednesday the Algoport arrived at 9 p.m. and went to Pier 10 for layup or repairs. Thursday the tugs Omni Richileau and LaPrairie departed at noon for Toronto and arrived back in port at 9:30 p.m. Friday the Algowood arrived at 11:30 a.m. with iron ore from Duluth for Dofasco then will shift docks at Dofasco to load Petroleum coke for Sept. Illes Quebec.

 

Updates - June 14

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Today in Great Lakes History - June 14

On this day in 1985, Captain Edward Rogowski passed away. Captain Rogowski started sailing as a deckhand on the 514 foot JOHN SHERWIN in 1936. He retired in 1982 as the first Captain of the largest freighter on the Great Lakes, the 1,013 foot PAUL R TREGURTHA.

On this day in 1957, the Interlake Steamship Company freighter HARVEY H BROWN, Captain Percy E. Mc Ginness, delivered the first cargo of coal to the new taconite loading port of Taconite Harbor, Minnesota.

The ROGER BLOUGH departed the shipyard in ballast on her maiden voyage for U.S. Steel Corp. the night of June 14, 1972, for Two Harbors, Minnesota to load 41,608 gross tons of taconite ore pellets. She was nearly a year late because of a fire in her engine room.

On June 14, 1988, the CONSUMERS POWER of 1927, with her former fleet mate JOHN T HUTCHINSON, departed Lauzon, Quebec in tow of the Panamanian tug/supply ship OMEGA 809, bound for a scrap yard in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The steamer PRINCESS was sold to Little and Fitzgerald on 14 June 1873. She was built in 1858, at Algonac, Michigan by Z. Pangborn.

The wooden scow TINKER was launched at Leighton & Dunford's yard in Port Huron, Michigan on 14 June 1876.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Port Reports - June 13

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Robert S. Pierson was back Friday afternoon for another load of taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock. She had last loaded on Thursday morning.

Milwaukee, Wisc. - John Monefeldt
The St. Marys Challenger was unloading at her dock at 9:30 p.m. Thursday. John B. Aird brought in a load of road salt on Wednesday afternoon.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Friday was a busy day with three vessels in port. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge during the morning to load cement for Superior, Wisc. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation waited in the bay until Integrity departed early in the afternoon. Nearby in the Thunder Bay River, Calumet tied up at the Alpena Oil Dock to unload sand. Before 5 p.m.,Calumet finished the unload and was backing out of the river.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Saltie Redhead arrived in Toronto at Redpath Sugar overnight Thursday - Friday.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 13

On 13 June 2003, after completing her conversion from American to Canadian registry, Lower Lakes Towing's newly acquired MICHIPICOTEN, a.) ELTON HOYT 2ND, departed the Government dock at Sarnia, Ontario. First she went to the Shell Oil dock in Corunna, Ontario to fuel, then she departed for Marquette, Michigan to load ore for Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

On 13 June 1902, METROPOLIS (wooden side-wheel steamer, 168 foot, 425 tons, built in 1868, at Detroit, Michigan) caught fire and burned to a total loss at her dock in Toledo, Ohio. She was only used occasionally for excursions and spent most of her time tied up to the dock.

On June 13, 1983, the JOHN B AIRD began its maiden voyage for Algoma Central Railway, a load of coal from Thunder Bay to Nanticoke, Ontario.

The IRVING S OLDS carried a record 17,817 gross tons of iron ore on June 13, 1943, from Lake Superior and transported a total of 736,800 short tons of various bulk cargoes the next year.

On the morning of June 13, 1905, running downbound on Lake Superior, the heavily laden SYLVANIA encountered heavy fog as she approached the Soo. Confused whistle signals resulted in the SYLVANIA glancing off the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., steamer SIR HENRY BESSEMER which sustained a 175 foot port side gash from the SYLVANIA's anchor. The BESSEMER required $40,000 in repairs and the SYLVANIA's damage totaled $10,000 which included a new anchor and shell plating which was completed at the Craig Shipbuilding Co., Toledo, Ohio.

June 13, 1930 - Shortly after leaving Menominee, Michigan, fireman Walter O'Leary of the ANN ARBOR NO 7 became ill. The carferry proceeded at full speed to the nearest doctor at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where surgery was performed to remove gall stones.

June 13, 1974 - The CITY OF GREEN BAY, formerly WABASH was sold to Marine Salvage Company to be scrapped. She was scrapped at Castellon, Spain in 1974.

On 13 June 1903, CHARLES H DAVIS (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 145 foot, 391 gross tons, built in 1881, at Saginaw, Michigan) was carrying limestone on Lake Erie off Cleveland when she developed a leak which quickly got worse and admitted water faster than her pumps capacity. She sank near the Cleveland breakwater. She was an unusual vessel, reportedly built of pine and pointed at both ends with her planking set diagonally.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

No flowering for U.S.-Flag cargo on Lakes in May

6/12 - Cleveland, Ohio - The recession tightened its grip on Great Lakes shipping in May.

U.S.-Flag lakers moved only 7.1 million tons of cargo, a decrease of 40 percent compared to a year ago. The steel industry’s struggles were clearly evident in May. Loadings of iron ore in U.S. hulls fell 62 percent to 2.2 million tons. When the nation’s steel mills are operating at or near capacity, one U.S.- Flag Lakes fleet can move nearly that much iron ore in a month.

Shipments of limestone also plummeted again in May, totaling only 1,989,470 tons, a decrease of 35 percent compared to a year ago. However, the stone trade has been sluggish for the past two years. In May of 2006, U.S.-Flag lakers hauled almost 4.1 million tons, so compared to that period of time, shipments this May were down 51 percent.

May coal loadings were within striking distance of a year ago; shipments were down 220,000 tons, or 9 percent. Relatively strong demand for low-sulfur coal is buoying the trade. For the year, U.S-Flag carriage stands at 13.7 million tons, a decrease of 50 percent from a year ago.

The plunge in demand has taken a toll on the number of vessels in service. On June 1 of this year, 49 U.S.-Flag vessels were working the Lakes. A year ago, the active fleet totaled 75 vessels.

Lake Carriers Association

 

Port Reports - June 12

Ashland, Wisc. - Chris Mazzella
American Mariner arrived mid-morning at Reiss Coal Dock in Ashland to unload 15,000 tons of coal; she departed around 5 p.m. Mariner is expected to bring another 14,000 tons of coal in around June 21.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On a foggy Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Robert S. Pierson loaded taconite and departed. The visit was her second of the season. In the evening, James R. Barker arrived in the fog to unload western coal into the Wisconsin Electric hopper.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River saw several visitors on Wednesday and Thursday. Algoway arrived early Wednesday morning to unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She was followed later in the day by Sam Laud and Calumet. The Laud called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City, while the Calumet traveled upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw.
The tug Zeus and her tank barge were outbound on Wednesday, after unloading at the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. Algoway and Sam Laud were also both outbound on Wednesday. Calumet was outbound early Thursday morning.

Toronto, Ont. – Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman arrived in Toronto June 10 and left by the morning of June 11. English River arrived overnight June 10 to 11.

 

Support for Lake Erie ferry plan grows

6/12 - London, Ont. – Proponents of a Lake Erie ferry for Port Burwell have received a major boost from across the lake.

A trio of lakeside communities east of Cleveland has been allocated $30 million in federal funding to get a cross-lake ferry service operating. And the Ohio congressman who obtained the money from Washington has urged the Ontario government to approve funds for a feasibility study being sought by Bayham Township for Port Burwell.

U.S. Representative Steven LaTourette and the Ohio Department of Development sent letters to Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, supporting the Bayham bid for a regional economic development grant that is being reviewed at Queen's Park.

"This shows the proposal is a complete circuit," said Bayham Mayor Lynn Acre. She said she was cautiously optimistic the support from the U.S. side of Lake Erie will help Bayham's bid.  Acre said her municipality expects to learn as soon as next month whether its application for help with a $300,000 feasibility study is approved. If approved, she said, the study would take about a year, followed by public comment and political decision likely by early 2011.

Acre conceded some newcomers oppose transforming the quiet lakeside community into a major border crossing without knowing Port Burwell was once a bustling port with rail connections. "This used to be a busy place, a happening place at one time."

Acre said Bayham's chief administrator, Kyle Kruger, is in weekly teleconferences with the leaders of Mentor, Fairport Harbor and Grand River, Ohio. The idea is to stay in close touch with the potential ferry partners. Acre said her municipality applied for additional federal funds to cover the feasibility study cost, and the show of support from the U.S. is important.

The ferry proposal is designed to boost the $88 million daily Ohio-Ontario trade with a new border crossing that would reduce highway travel and vehicle emissions and provide a new conduit for trade and passengers. Proponent Kent Kristensen of Ontario-based Seaport Management Corp., said the ferry would carry 2,400 trucks and 1,600 passenger vehicles daily.

He said the service would transform Port Burwell.  "The economic viability of that village has gone south," he said. "They are in dire straits."  He said economic benefits would affect the entire region. Even places like Port Stanley, whose harbor is choked with silt and doesn't want heavy commercial traffic, would see economic spinoffs from tourism.

Kristensen said public meetings in 2006 showed widespread support for the Port Burwell ferry plan.

He conceded Quebec operator Russell Blais is looking at another ferry proposal for either Port Burwell or Port Stanley, and Cleveland has considered a ferry to Port Stanley but that plan seems on hold because of protracted harbour divestiture talks. "We have all been vying for position," he said, noting the Mentor-Fairport Harbour-Grand River plan is different.

"We are proposing a full-blown trade corridor for freight." Chris Conley, mayor of Grand River, said things are looking up for the plan. "It's not a matter of when -- it's a matter of where." He thinks there will be a terminal in his community in partnership with Mentor and Fairport Harbor.

London Free Press

 

Divers hope to identify 1812 warship in Lake Ontario

6/12 - Kingston, Ont. – A team of divers is set to plunge into Lake Ontario near Kingston, Ont., next week in a bid to confirm the discovery of a legendary Canadian-built ship from the War of 1812, the HMS Wolfe.

In collaboration with marine archeologists from Parks Canada, the divers plan to take detailed measurements, drawings and photographs of a sunken wooden sailing vessel that appears to match the size and last known location of the famous 32-metre sloop: the flagship of British naval commander James Yeo and star of a dramatic 1813 battle west of Toronto that helped thwart the U.S. invasion of Canada.

The suspected discovery comes just three years before the 200th anniversary of the war, adding urgency to the efforts to identify a possible new showcase relic for bi-national commemoration activities.

"We're hoping it's the Wolfe," said Dianne Groll, a Queen's University psychiatry professor and avid diver who made a preliminary inspection of the wreck site in May. "We're 99 per cent sure it is," she told Canwest News Service on Wednesday. "With any luck, we should have the formal survey done by the end of July."

The underwater probe, to be carried out by the Kingston-based heritage group, Preserve Our Wrecks, with support from Parks Canada, will include making bow-to-stern measurements of the rotting hulk, producing sketches and photos of joints, ribs and other telltale features of the ship's construction, and taking core samples of the wood to determine the types of trees used by the builders.

Groll said the wreck has been known about for years and has been studied by federal archeologist Jonathan Moore. Last summer, Kingston diver Kenn Feigelman generated media attention after taking sonar readings and pictures at the wreck site.

The potential find follows the recent discovery in Lake Ontario of the Revolutionary War vessel HMS Ontario, and last year's Parks Canada-led high-tech probe of the sunken Hamilton and Scourge, two American ships from the War of 1812 that went down in a storm near Hamilton.

The ship, renamed HMS Montreal later in the war, was built on the Lake Ontario shore and played a brief but important role in the crucial struggle against the Americans for control of the Great Lakes.

In a famous 1813 engagement known as the Burlington Races, a damaged HMS Wolfe was under intense fire near present-day Toronto, but just managed to escape the enemy assault by retreating rapidly westward to a gun-protected shore near Burlington Bay.

A defeat in that battle — which came just days after a major U.S. victory on Lake Erie — could have given the Americans free rein over the lower lakes and, according to a leading War of 1812 naval historian, made certain Ontario became "a state of the American union."

The ship, which was involved in numerous battles throughout the 1812-1814 war, was scuttled years after the war in waters off Kingston, along with several other vessels that had outlived their usefulness in peacetime Upper Canada.

Naval historian Robert Williamson has called the Burlington Races "a pivotal engagement that would determine the outcome of the War of 1812."

In a 1999 essay published in the journal Canadian Military History, Williamson reconstructed the events of Sept. 28, 1813, using the logbooks of the Wolfe, which had only recently been opened to researchers by the U.S. national archives in Washington. The historian debunked a popular tale that the British ships had actually vaulted a sandbar to escape their American pursuers, but Williamson concluded that the survival of the Wolfe and the other vessels was a true turning point in Canadian history.

"Yeo's Lake Ontario naval squadron survived the scrape of 28 September as strong as ever,'' Williamson wrote. "In fact, it went on the offensive in the following spring and helped to capture Fort Oswego. . . . By maintaining the integrity of his squadron, Yeo played a far more important role in the events of the War of 1812 that shaped our future than generations of historians have been prepared to grant him.''

Canwest News Service

 

U.S., Canadian agencies train for Mistake on Lake

6/12 - Port Clinton, Ohio – More than a dozen agencies from the U.S. and Canada participated in a joint training exercise Wednesday to prepare for possible oil or chemical spills on Lake Erie.

Mistake on the Lake 2009 brought more than 75 participants together for the day at the Ottawa County Emergency Operations Center at the Ottawa County courthouse, and spread dozens of others across the lake, from Toledo to the Lake Erie islands.

"It's a real-time exercise throughout the Lake Erie islands," said Ninth Coast Guard District Assistant Public Affairs Officer Robert Lanier. "They'll also be working out of Toledo, as well."

The exercise, which supposes that a lake freighter and a research vessel collided several miles off the islands, tests the ability of numerous agencies in working together, the two main players being the U.S and Canadian coast guards.

A number of other agencies took part also, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Border Patrol and Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio EPA.

Lanier said the exercise, in which personnel at the EOC work together to make command decisions, procure needed equipment and supplies and make ongoing assessments of the emergency, ensures the agencies will be able to work together in the case of an actual environmental disaster.

"We don't want to be complacent," Lanier said. "This way, we know what we need to do."

Larry Trigatti, superintendent of environmental response for the Canadian Coast Guard, said the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie, do see waste oil spills or discharges, though no major disasters recently. Trigatti, who oversees an area that stretches from the Arctic Circle to Ottawa County, said he's seen about 100 calls each year regarding some type of spill. "This is all conservation stuff," Trigatti said. "We're coordinating objectives and learning each others' language."

The News-Messenger

 

Water levels up in Lake Huron after storms this week

6/12 - Water levels in Lakes Michigan-Huron are up after above-average precipitation in the Great Lakes basin this week.

The lakes, which are connected by the Straits of Mackinac, are 10 inches higher than at this time a year ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports in its latest weekly update.

Lakes Michigan-Huron are projected to rise 2 more inches over the next 30 days, along with Lake Superior.

This month, the Lake Michigan-Huron basin has seen above average precipitation, while the remaining lake basins have received lower than average rain, Corps officials said.

The Bay City Times

 

Wind turbines could be on Great Lakes in 3 years

6/12 - Milwaukee, Wisc. – The first wind turbine development on the Great Lakes could be built within three years or so, experts on offshore wind power said during a conference Wednesday in Milwaukee.

The first project is expected to consist of three to five turbines just off the shore of Cleveland in Lake Erie.

The project is being pushed by the Cuyahoga County government as an economic development strategy to help boost the development of a wind-power manufacturing industry in a state that's been hit hard by cutbacks in the auto industry, said Steve Dever of the Ohio Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force.

During the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative meeting at We Energies, experts on offshore wind in Wisconsin said they expect development to start slowly over the next few years. But the industry could grow rapidly from there, the experts said. "In 2010-2013 you'll see pilot projects get started. Then I think we'll see incredible growth - really, really rapid growth," said Tom Stanton of the Michigan Public Service Commission.

It's believed to be nearly twice as expensive to build wind turbines in the lake as it is on land. But the prospect of erecting wind turbines on the Great Lakes is intriguing for many because the farms could be placed far enough out in the lake that they wouldn't face the kind of opposition seen against projects along the East Coast.

Experts believe wind speeds are much faster over large bodies of water than over land, with parts of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior having stronger winds than Iowa and Minnesota, two of the leading states in generation of wind power.

Wisconsin is looking into Great Lakes wind power as one option for the state to generate more renewable energy that would help reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions, said Deborah Erwin of the state Public Service Commission.

When that development comes, local manufacturing will be important, because wind-turbine components are so bulky that shipping them is expensive, panelists said. "The Great Lakes can be a major player in the world offshore wind market," said John Kourtoff of Trillium Power, a Canadian firm that has proposed a major wind power development in Lake Ontario.

In Wisconsin, the next step is to raise money for a study that would provide more accurate data about wind speeds - and bird migration patterns - in the middle of the lake, said the PSC's Erwin. Milwaukee-based We Energies has agreed to contribute $3 million toward the study.

Several speakers at the conference touted the economic development opportunities from wind power.

Three ports in and near Wisconsin - Duluth, Minn., Menominee, Mich., and Milwaukee - rank in the top four in the amount of wind-power components shipped into Great Lakes ports over the past four years, said Tim Downey of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Association.

Ken Szallai, former director of Milwaukee's port, said the wind industry needs to take into account the difficult marine conditions that contractors will face when trying to build turbines in the lakes.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Boatnerd/Diamond Belle cruise to Toledo Marine Mart announced

6/12 - Diamond Jack’s River Tours and Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping are co-sponsoring a round-trip cruise aboard the Diamond Belle from Bishop Park in Wyandotte to Toledo on August 22. The trip is designed for those wishing to attend the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Marine memorabilia Flea Market.

The trip will pass the Detroit River Light, Toledo Harbor Light, the CSX coal dock, the drawbridges in the Maumee River, the dry docks at the Toledo ship yard. During the flea market the Diamond Belle will provide transportation between the Toledo Maritime Center and the museum ship Willis B. Boyer.

The Diamond Belle will depart Bishop Park at 8 a.m. and return around 9 p.m. The cost of $95.00 per person includes three meals on board. Reservations are required. Click here for reservation form

 

Updates - June 12

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Red Wing gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 12

On 12 June 1898, SAKIE SHEPHERD (wooden propeller freighter, 100 foot, 189 gross tons, built in 1883, at Huron, Ohio) burned while at the dock in Courtright, Ontario. The fire was discovered at 1:00 a.m. and the crew just had time to escape. The schooner YOUNG AMERICA also caught fire and had damage done to her stern. The SHEPHERD was towed to Detroit where she was rebuilt and lasted until 1903, when she sank in Lake Huron.

On 12 June 1900, the UNIQUE (wooden propeller, 163 foot, 381 gross tons, built in 1894, at Marine City, Michigan) was sold at public auction at St. Clair, Michigan to satisfy a mortgage. W. J. Laidlaw of Ogdensburg, New York purchased her for $20,000 for the Rapid Transit Co. to run between Ogdensburg and Kingston, Ontario. In 1904, her upper cabins were removed and she was rebuilt as a yacht. She lasted until 1915, when she burned in New York City harbor.

"STUBBY", The bow and stern sections of the STEWART J CORT welded together, passed Port Colborne, Ontario on June 12, 1970, bound for Erie, Pennsylvania under her own power. STUBBY's bow and stern sections were later separated at Erie Marine, Inc., a Div. of Litton, and joined to the 816 foot hull mid-body.

The NANTICOKE (Hull#218) departed Collingwood, Ontario in 1980, beginning her maiden voyage for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd.

In 1959, the BENSON FORD of 1924, ran aground in the Amherstburg Channel on her upbound trip with coal for the Rouge Plant. After five days of lightering and with tug assistance, she was freed. Damage amounted to 41 bottom plates which took 30 days to repair.

On 12 June 1832, the wooden schooner GUERRIER was sailing from Oswego, New York for Detroit when she capsized in a squall off Bar Point on Lake Erie. Captain Pember and the crew and most of the passengers made it to the Canadian shore, but one family was trapped in the cabin. The husband was able to keep his head above water in the upside down cabin, but through the night, one by one, his four children and then his wife slipped from his grasp and perished. The following day, Capt. Stanard took his steamer NIAGARA to the wreck and rescued the man.

On 12 June 1900, the steel tow barge BRYN MAWR (Hull#41) was launched at South Chicago, Illinois by the Chicago Ship Building Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company.

The wooden propeller freighter MILWAUKEE (264 foot, 1,770 gross tons) was launched at Quayle & Sons yard in Cleveland, Ohio on 12 June 1879, for the Western Transportation Company of Buffalo, New York. She had supporting arches above decks. In 1902, she was renamed YONKERS and rebuilt as a barge in 1911. She lasted until 1917-1918 when she stranded, then burned.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Cofferdam contract awarded as first step to new lock

6/11 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - After more than a quarter-century of preparation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $1.9 million contract for the construction of two cofferdams at the Soo Locks.

“This is a very significant day in the long life of this project as we now move to the actual construction phase,” said John Niemiec, U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Project Manager.

Two cofferdams, one at each end of the Sabin Lock, will be constructed of a single, 88-foot diameter steel sheet pile cell, and will include instrumentation to monitor the cofferdam performance. This permits the lock chamber to be dewatered to conduct the construction in a dry environment.

The TAB Construction Company of Canton, Ohio has been awarded the contract for the cofferdams and this phase of the project is expected to take about a year to complete.

There will be an open house at the Soo Locks on June 30 from 9 a.m. to noon. The public is invited to attend the groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. joining various local, state and federal officials for the event.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also announced that additional funding from the 2009 Omnibus bill will be utilized toward this project with detailed designs for the lock chamber and downstream channel excavation also on tap.

The total price tag for the project, which will replace the older and inoperable Davis and Sabin Locks, is estimated to cost $580 million. Federal officials estimate the construction project will create nearly 15,000 jobs in the Eastern Upper Peninsula over the next 10 to 20 years.

In 2008, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 8,461 vessels passed through the Soo Locks carrying 80.6 million tons of cargo.

The proposed lock will have the same capability as the existing Poe Lock. With two of the locks operational, however, shipping traffic would not be interrupted should one of them require maintenance.

The Evening News

 

Port Reports - June 11

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Wednesday evening at the Lower Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson unloaded limestone from Stoneport at the Shiras Dock and was expected to load ore at the Upper Harbor after unloading. Jackson's cargo was only the second stone cargo of the season at the Shiras Dock, which she unloaded in mid-May.

Green Bay, Wisc. – Dick Lund and Scott Best
John G. Munson was at Fox River Dock unloading coal, first alongside the dock on the Fox River, then moving into the Fox River Dock slip. Arriving in Green Bay on Wednesday morning was G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity, which have become regular visitors this year taking over for the laid up Alpena, which had made Green Bay a regular port of call in recent years. The tug and barge docked alongside the S.T. Crapo. Dredging continues out near Grassy Island, and the tugs Stephan M. Asher and Chas. Asher were in port that afternoon.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Tuesday night, Manistee came in light at 9 p.m. It took on a load of sand at the Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg and departed at 3 a.m.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus and her tank barge were inbound Tuesday evening, calling on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City to unload. The pair were expected to be outbound sometime on Wednesday. Following minutes behind was American Century with a load of coal for the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She was planning to depart around 11:30 p.m., backing out to buoys 13 & 14 to turn around and head for the lake. Algoway was also rounding the tip of the thumb around 10 p.m., making her way towards the Saginaw River. She was in contact with the Century planning on where to meet out in the Saginaw Bay.

 

Updates - June 11

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Red Wing gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 11

TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1,344 gross tons, built in 1900, at Wyandotte, Michigan) entered regular service for the White Star Line at Detroit, Michigan, on 11 June 1900.

On 11 June 1903, HORACE H. BADGER (wooden 3-mast schooner, 129 foot, 263 gross tons, built in 1867, at Conneaut, Ohio as a 2-mast schooner, formerly KATE GILLETT) was carrying coal in a storm on Lake Erie. She was driven onto the breakwater at Cleveland, Ohio and broke up in the storm waves. The crew of seven was rescued by the Life Saving Service. This vessel had been wrecked twice before; once at Cross Village, Michigan, in 1895, and again near Alpena, Michigan in 1896.

ATLANTIC SUPERIOR (Hull#222) was float launched at Thunder Bay, Ontario, by Port Arthur Ship Building Co. Ltd.. in 1982, for Federal Commerce & Navigation Ltd., Montreal, Quebec (Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., mgr.), built for the Caribbean trade.

MESABI MINER was christened at Duluth, Minnesota in 1977, she became the fourth thousand-foot bulk carrier on the Great Lakes and Interlake Steamship Co.'s second.

CARL D. BRADLEY (Hull#718) cleared Lorain, Ohio, in her gray and white livery in 1917, on her maiden voyage light bound for Calcite, Michigan, to load limestone. She was the first Great Lakes commercial ship equipped with both Morse code telegraphy as well as ship-to-shore radio in 1922, which was standard on only 20 vessels by 1924. Renamed b.) JOHN G. MUNSON in 1927, c.) IRVIN L. CLYMER in 1951, she was scrapped at Duluth, Minnesota, in 1994-5.

On June 11, 1936, EDWARD J. BERWIND collided with the AYCLIFFE HALL 16 miles West of Long Point on Lake Erie. The Hall Corp. steamer went to the bottom and was not salvaged.

June 11, 1981 - The BADGER steamed out of Ludington en route to Milwaukee under an MDOT subsidy that was approved earlier in March.

The propeller E B HALE was launched at Cleveland, Ohio, at the yard of Quayle & Sons on 11 June 1874. Her length was 217 foot keel, 227 foot overall. She was owned by Capt. Bradley, Mr. Thomas Quayle and Mr. Loomis and she cost $100,000.

The wooden rabbit J S RUBY was launched at Fair Haven, Michigan, on 11 June 1881. Her dimensions were 106 feet 6 inches x 21 feet x 7 feet. She was towed to Port Huron for the installation of her boiler and engine that were built by the Phoenix Iron Works. She lasted until burned to a total loss off Stag Island in the St. Clair River on November 9, 1891.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Lakes iron ore trade off almost 60 percent in May

6/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - With the capacity utilization rate for the nation’s steel industry still hovering around 40 percent, iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes in May totaled only 3 million tons, a decrease of nearly 60 percent compared to a year ago. One dock loaded only one cargo during the month.

Another dock’s total for the month of May would be typical of a week’s operations in a healthy economy.

The iron ore trade has fared even worse on a year-to-date basis. Through May, shipments are down 65 percent compared to a year ago. Comparisons with the 5-year average for the month and January-May timeframe are only slightly better.

Adding to the iron ore trade’s woes are the debilitating effects of the dredging crisis. Mother Nature has provided some relief in the form of higher water levels, but even so, the largest vessels are still forfeiting 5,000 tons or more each.

Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Demand for limestone remained weak in May

6/10 - Cleveland, Ohio – With the construction and steel industries mired in recession, demand for limestone on the Great Lakes in May was down significantly. Shipments from U.S. and Canadian ports fell below 2.9 million tons, a decrease of 32 percent compared to a year ago. Compared to May’s 5-year average, loadings were off 40 percent.

For the year, the Lakes limestone trade stands at 4.4 million tons, a decrease of 40 percent compared to a year ago, and only one-half of the 5-year average for the January-May timeframe

Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Port of Green Bay feels shipping downturn

6/10 - Green Bay, Wisc. – The 2009 shipping season is shaping up as expected – slowly.

The Port of Green Bay saw 19 vessels through the end of May, down from 32 at the same time last year. Much of that is due to the amount of unused bulk commodities – like coal – in the port from late last year.

While the first 2½ months of the shipping season may be best forgotten, port manager Dean Haen said it's likely traffic will pick up this summer as businesses look to replenish depleting stocks of raw materials.

"I think you're going to see the port pick back up because … we do have a pretty stable economy and our port really doesn't see the spikes of ports that do a lot of international commerce," he said. "We're bringing in raw materials that are used for power plants, farming and manufacturing."

Through May, the Port of Green Bay has seen a 46 percent reduction in cargo from last year, according to monthly figures complied by the port.

So far, 223,912 tons of cargo have passed through the port compared to 411,829 at the same time last year, according to the report.

"Once that existing supply (of raw materials) gets used up, you're going to see the port look a little more normal on a monthly basis," Haen said. "It might be a little slower than in the past, but on a monthly basis it will be close to historic months."

Green Bay Press-Gazette

 

Gravel is gold for port of Windsor

6/10 - Windsor, Ont. – Later this summer, freighters and oil barges will start lining up at the port of Windsor to begin unloading a few million tons of aggregate and liquid asphalt.

The hundreds of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects announced in Windsor over the past few weeks will take a flotilla of freighters to deliver the quantity of building materials required.

Infrastructure projects include many road improvement projects.

The parallel taxiway project at Windsor Airport alone will require a small mountain of crushed stone. The winning bidder for that $12-million contract will need to lay down a bed of gravel one metre deep, 75 feet wide and 6,393 feet long. Topped off with six inches of asphalt, the taxiway will increase the airport's flight capacity tenfold.

None of this counts the two biggest projects of them all, the new bridge to Michigan and the Windsor Parkway connection to it.

"It's looking very promising for the port in an otherwise miserable economy," says Charles Pingle, chairman of the Windsor Port Authority.

The port is already experiencing a "huge tonnage increase" thanks to increased shipments of salt, its mainstay. Now the port and its tenants are bracing for a massive increase in business as their customers ramp up for what is shaping up to be a five to 10-year construction binge in the region.

Recently, paving giant McAsphalt Industries Limited doubled its capacity in Windsor by adding two $5 million, heated asphalt tanks to handle the anticipated roadwork. Now they're planning to add two more, Pingle said Monday.

That's just a very small uptick in the local economy. But add that ripple to all the others soon to be caused by the major construction projects encompassed in last week's infrastructure announcement, and you're looking at an economic wave.

The Windsor Star

 

Harbor dredging to begin soon at Monroe

6/10 - Monroe, Mich. -Within the next two weeks, a contractor working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to begin dredging the River Raisin navigation channel from Lake Erie to the Port of Monroe turning basin.

Great Lakes Dock & Materials of Muskegon won an $872,940 contract to remove 88,000 cubic yards of sediment from the harbor. The dredgings will be put in the nearby confined disposal area at Sterling State Park.

"I don’t think there will be any impact for recreational boaters," said Angie Mundell, project manager for the Corps’s Detroit District. "They might have to go around the dredge, but the dredge isn’t going to take up the whole harbor."

Dredging is expected to take three to four weeks and will ensure the navigational channel depth is 21 feet and that the turning basin is at 18 feet.

Most of the dredging will be along one side of the channel and partly in the lake near the river’s mouth, Ms. Mundell said.

The dredging is meant to keep the Monroe port open to Great Lakes shipping. It also is expected to be important to the commerce generated by a new wind-tower manufacturing plant to be built near the port.

The dredging is not directly related to dredging that is being planned at a later date to remove industrial toxins discovered in a previous study of the riverbed.

The river normally is dredged on a two- or three-year cycle, but this will be the third year in a row the Corps has had it dredged, Ms. Mundell said.

The Monroe harbor is among 94 around the Great Lakes that the Detroit District of the Corps manages.

Monroe Evening News

 

Port Reports - June 10

Milwaukee, Wisc. - John Monefeldt
American Courage brought in a load of coal to the Greenfield Ave. coal dock and was outbound to the lake about 6:20 p.m. on Monday. During her unload severe thunderstorms including tornados rolled through the area.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Manitowoc backed in around 9 p.m. Monday evening, in dense fog that settled in when a cold front came through. The boat safely tied up, discharged the load at Meekhof's D & M Dock on Harbor Island and left before dawn. At 8 a.m. the St. Marys Challenger came in with a short load for the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. It was expected to leave later in the day.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Calumet was loading coal at the CSX Docks and was expected to depart late Tuesday evening. The research vessel Lake Guardian was at the Midwest Terminal Dock. The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be H. Lee White on Wednesday followed by Herbert C. Jackson on Saturday. The next ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be H. Lee White Wednesday morning followed by CSL Niagara on Friday. Canadian Transport is due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock Wednesday morning.

 

Coast Guard receives new search-and-rescue airboat

6/10 - Saginaw, Mich. - Coast Guard Station Saginaw River is the first to receive a new version of the Special Purpose Craft (SPC) airboat from Midwest Rescue Airboats at approximately 2 p.m. Thursday.

As the Ice Capabilities Center of Excellence (ICCE), Station Saginaw River will be conducting training and testing of the new craft until it is found to be a suitable platform for Coast Guard operations.

The new airboat can be one of the many tools the ICCE uses to increase its response times and on-scene time.

The Coast Guard has been using a different version of SPC airboats successfully for ice rescues, flood responses and hurricane responses.

"The new state-of-the-art Special Purpose Craft will potentially allow the station crew members to do the challenging missions of ice rescue in a safer and more comfortable fashion and will provide the public with safer and more efficient ice rescue service," said Capt. Jeff Ogden, Chief of Response for the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland.

USCG

 

Air race over Detroit River to limit boaters' activities

6/10 - Detroit, Mich. – Boat traffic will be banned or limited along a portion of the Detroit River during the annual Red Bull Air Races from Thursday through Sunday.

The Red Bull Air Race series is an international series of competitions, usually over water, in which pilots race small planes around pylons and other obstacles on what amounts to a racetrack in the air.

The U.S. Coast Guard will be enforcing the safety zone under the plane's racecourse while the planes are flying. The zone on the U.S. side of the river is roughly between the Joe Louis Arena and Chene Park. The Windsor Port Authority and Canadian Coast Guard will enforce a similar boat ban in that zone on the Canadian side of the river.

The enforcement schedule is as follows:
• Commercial vehicles only during practices from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.

• No vessel movement during race days, from 12:30 to 6:15 p.m. Saturday (with possible commercial-vessel-only traffic from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.), and no vessel movement from noon until 5 p.m. Sunday.

Detroit Free Press

 

Updates - June 10

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Red Wing gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 10

On 10 June 1891, the tug AMERICAN EAGLE (wooden propeller tug, 46 gross tons, built in 1865, at Buffalo, New York) collided with the tug ALVA B (wooden propeller tug, 73 foot, 83 gross tons, built in 1890, at Buffalo, New York) which was not in motion, about 2.5 miles west of the Cleveland breakwater. The ALVA B hooked up a line and started towing the AMERICAN EAGLE in, but she sank a half mile from the harbor entrance.

On 10 June 1891, the CHARLES W. WETMORE (steel propeller whaleback freighter, 265 foot, 1,399 gross tons) left the shipyard at West Superior, Wisconsin, on her maiden voyage, bound for Liverpool, England with a cargo of grain. During her trip to the Atlantic Ocean, she shot the St. Lawrence River rapids. In Liverpool, she loaded machinery for Puget Sound. She only lasted until September 1892, when she stranded one mile north of Coos Bay, Oregon in fog. Bad weather stopped salvage attempts and the vessel was abandoned.

Bethlehem's LEWIS WILSON FOY, loaded her first cargo June 10, 1978, at Burlington Northern #5, Superior, Wisconsin, with 57,952 tons of Hibbing taconite pellets for Burns Harbor, Indiana. Renamed b.) OGLEBAY NORTON in 1991.

In 1892, the keel for the ANN ARBOR NO 1 (Hull#55) was laid at Toledo, Ohio by Craig Shipbuilding Co.

The ANN ARBOR NO 4 was sold to the Michigan State Ferries in 1937, and renamed b.) CITY OF CHEBOYGAN.

On 10 June 1877, while lying at her dock at Detroit, the wooden side-wheeler R N RICE burned. The damage was estimated at $30,000. After this fire, she was rebuilt as a barge.

The propeller MONTGOMERY burned in the early morning hours of 10 June 1878. The fire started while she was laying at the dock in Point Edward, Ontario. The carferry INTERNATIONAL towed her out into the St. Clair River and cast her off to drift. Fortunately there were no injuries. She finally was beached opposite Batchelor's Mill on the Canadian side by the tugs CRUSADER and J H MARTIN. At 10:00 a.m., she was still burning. The MONTGOMERY was a steam barge of 1,104 tons, built in 1856, and owned by Capt. John Pridgeon. She was fully loaded with 29,000 bushels of corn, 320 barrels of flour, 540 barrels of corn meal, 200 bags of timothy seed and 111 bales of broom corn, besides other freight. The local papers claimed that the spectacle presented by the burning vessel as she drifted down the river was "grand and beautiful". The light was so brilliant that the entire city of Port Huron was illuminated and many people came out to watch. The following day, the wreck was towed to the American side of the river just below Avery's Mill. Whatever was left of her cargo was taken off and sold. Her engines and boiler were so badly warped and twisted from the intense heat that they were worthless except as scrap.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineer dredge MARKHAM (Hull#904) was launched in 1959, at Avondale, Louisiana, by Avondale Marine Ways Inc.

Data from: Jody L. Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Port Reports - June 9

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
The barge Pere Marquette 41 with tug Undaunted came in about 4 p.m. Sunday with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. Manitowoc was expected at Meekhof's D & M dock on Harbor Island in Grand Haven with a load of stone at 8:30 Monday night. The St. Marys was is expected early in the morning on Tuesday at the St. Marys Terminal in Ferrysburg with its second delivery of the season.

Alpena and Stone Port, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Three research vessels were tied up in the Thunder Bay River – Laurentian, Spencer F. Baird and Sturgeon. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were expected to arrive Monday night to load at Lafarge, followed by the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation Tuesday morning. Maumee was anchored off Stoneport on Monday waiting for winds to calm down before docking. Herbert C. Jackson is on the schedule for Tuesday.

Rouge River, Detroit, Mich. - Nathan Nietering
Despite the depressed economy, Detroit's Rouge River was a busy place on Monday. Herbert C. Jackson arrived into the Rouge Shortcut during the night with a load of coal from Toledo for the EDS coke plant on Zug Island. The vessel departed around 10:45 a.m. and was upbound in the Detroit River. Peter R. Cresswell spent the entire day slowly unloading a cargo at the St. Marys Cement Terminal. Saginaw was inbound the Rouge around 5 p.m. and proceeded up to the Brennan Street Dock to unload an aggregate cargo. The tug Everlast and barge Norman McLeod spent the day tied up at the Marathon Oil Refinery Dock. The tug Karen Andrie and barge spent the day at the Michigan Marine Terminals.

 

Updates - June 9

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Red Wing gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 9

TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1,344 gross tons, built in 1900, at Wyandotte, Michigan) hosted Admiral George Dewey on her inaugural trip from Cleveland, Ohio, to Detroit, Michigan, on 09 June 1900. Admiral Dewey had just returned from his conquest of the Philippines during the Spanish American War and was a national hero. TASHMOO entered regular service for the White Star Line two days later.

The Lubeck, Germany-built, 305-foot Greek freighter CASTALIA of 1953 struck the north tower pier of the Mackinac Bridge at 7 p.m. on 09 June 1968, in dense fog. The bridge was not damaged and the ship took on water, but was able to proceed to Chicago without assistance.

LIGHTSHIP 103 was delivered to the 12th District Headquarters at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on June 9, 1921, to begin her Great Lakes career.

June 9, 1983, ALGOWEST loaded a record 1,047,758 bushels of wheat at Thunder Bay, Ontario.

ROGER BLOUGH began sea trials in 1972.

June 9, 1911, The ANN ARBOR NO 1 was raised by Smith Wrecking Company of Muskegon after being considered a menace to navigation by the Coast Guard (she had been sunk by the south breakwater at Frankfort, Michigan, after burning on March 8th). She was taken to Muskegon, and repaired sufficiently to become a sand scow for the Love Construction Company. The cost of raising her was $8,000.

On 9 June 1884, ANNAPEE (2-mast wooden scow-schooner, 71 foot, 118 gross tons, built in 1867, at Ahnapee (Wolf River), Wisconsin) was bound from Torch Lake, Michigan, for Milwaukee with a load of railroad ties and cordwood when she stranded in fog on North Point in Lake Michigan, 2 1/2 miles from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Later a strong wind blew her into the rocks and she broke up. No lives were lost and part of her cargo was saved.

On 9 June 1882, the LIZZIE A. LAW (wooden schooner, 196 foot, 747 gross tons, built in 1875, at Port Huron, Michigan) collided with the R.B. HAYES (wooden schooner, 147 foot, 668 gross tons, built in 1877, at Gibraltar, Michigan) near the foot of Lake Huron. Although the LAW suffered severe damage, she completed her trip to Buffalo and was repaired there. The LAW lasted until 1908, when she was lost in a storm.

Data from: Jody L. Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels

 

Soo Lock cofferdam construction contract awarded

6/8 - The contract to build two cofferdams at the Soo Locks was awarded Thursday to Tab Construction Company, Inc. of Canton, Ohio. This is to be the first step required to build the Poe-sized replacement lock at the Soo. The work will likely start after the official groundbreaking on June 30.

More information from the USACE Contracting site

 

Port Reports - June 8

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday evening at the Upper Harbor ore dock, H. Lee White loaded taconite after unloading coal in Silver Bay and sailing light to Marquette.

Green Bay, Wisc. - Wendell Wilke
The Maumee was in port Sunday unloading at Fox River Dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Saturday morning saw the Manitowoc outbound from the Saginaw Wirt Stone dock where she had unloaded overnight. Following a few minutes behind was the Olive L. Moore with the Lewis J. Kuber, who had unloaded at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. Late Friday night, the Calumet was inbound, bound for the GM Dock in Saginaw to unload coal. She finished her unload and was outbound on Saturday. Calumet, on her trip out of the river, passed the upbound Gregory J. Busch and her barge who had departed from the Bay Aggregates dock and were oubound for the Busch Marine dock in Carrollton.
On Sunday morning, the Mississagi was inbound on her first trip of the year up the Saginaw, headed to the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. She completed her unload and was outbound for the lake Sunday evening.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Saturday, AV Kastner departed at 3:30 p.m. and headed down the lake. Canadian Enterprise departed at 4:30 pm. and headed to the canal.

Toronto, Ont. – Frank Hood
English River departed Toronto Saturday morning.

 

Sign up now for upcoming BoatNerd cruises

June 26 - Engineer’s Weekend St. Marys River Cruise
Arrangements have been made to have a cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie.

The cruise will be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 26. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. The cruise will be three (3) hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and will do our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. A buffet dinner is included in the $35.00 per person cost. Dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and desert. There will be a cash bar on board.

Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. This will afford everyone enough space to take photos and enjoy themselves. Mail-in reservations must be received no later than Monday, June 22. If any space is available, reservations will be taken by Dave Wobser Wednesday evening in the Soo, or at the Soo Boatnerd Picnic before noon on Thursday, June 25. Call 419-722-5507 to locate. Click here for reservation form

August 8 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise
On Saturday, August 8, we will repeat the popular BoatNerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. Pizza for lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott II mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. Reservations are a must, as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. The cruise will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Click here for reservation form

 

Updates - June 8

News Photo Gallery

 

100 years ago Tuesday marks Canadian lock accident

6/8 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – It’s the closest thing to maritime disaster ever associated with the nearly 114-year-old Sault Ste. Marie canal.

One hundred years ago this Tuesday, on June 9, 1909, three vessels, including two freighters and a passenger ship, were awash and out of control as a “wall of water” rushed through a damaged lock and into the lower St. Mary’s River.

The Assiniboia, a Canadian Pacific Railway Co. package-passenger vessel with more than 100 passengers aboard, was tied to the lock wall, awaiting the Pittsburgh Steel Co.’s ore-laden freighter, Crescent City, which had just entered the upper lock, for downbound passage.

An upbound freighter, the 436-foot Perry G. Walker, allegedly approached the canal too quickly that afternoon and collided with the chamber’s massive closed 100-ton south gate.

The collision, at an estimated eight kilometres-per-hour, breached a section of the 44-foot-tall Douglas Fir-constructed gate. That breach led to the eventual collapse of its companion gate, and the water held back in the lock chamber rushed out.

The Assiniboia, whose lines securing it to the lock wall snapped under the cascading torrent, and the 5,800-ton Crescent City, despite running its engines in full reverse, were both swept through the canal and into the lower St. Mary’s, which also had the Perry G. Walker riding out the surge.

The Assiniboia and the Crescent City struck, and broke off a second set of massive lock gates on their wild ride. The three vessels miraculously avoided serious collision in the mill race, although the Assiniboia, despite dropping its anchor to reduce velocity, and Perry G. Walker did strike a “glancing blow” off one another.

The Crescent City struck the passenger vessel in the stern, above the water line, on her ride.

Vessels normally inch their way through the 274 metre by 18 metre lock chamber but the Crescent City, according to official reports, was “flushed” through the system at more than 60 kilometres an hour — riding the full force of uncontrolled waters.

It was one of the more significant incidents in the history of the canal,” said Ron Harrison, a retired assistant canal supervisor who wrote an article on the incident for a Great Lakes Historical Society publication. “It had all the makings of a disaster but somehow disaster was averted.”

All three vessels avoided smashing into shoreline jetties in the confusion and made their way to the Michigan Sault for inspection.

The Crescent City, which reportedly damaged its hull while getting flushed through the canal, promptly sank in shallow wharf waters.

Several passengers on the Assiniboia reportedly fainted as a result of the incident and one had to be forcibly restrained from jumping overboard, but nobody was injured.

Aside from the wrecked gates, damage was relatively modest. Minor dredging was required to clear away silt, stone and debris, but the lock was operational again within 12 days.

“The outflow was only restricted by the (60-foot) width of the canal,” said Harrison, a former 21-year employee at the site. “It was the equivalent of two, possibly three, of the 16 compensating gates (controlling the outflow from Lake Superior) being left full open.”

The incident proved to be a coming out party for the canal’s emergency swing-dam bridge, which was designed to reduce the flow of water through the canal in the event of gate damage. As its name implies, it’s an emergency dam on a swing bridge.

One of only nine such bridges ever constructed, it is the lone swing-bridge dam to ever be deployed.

The hand gear for turning the bridge broke, according to official reports. So, a team of horses was hitched up to haul the massive structure into place across the canal within hours of the incident. Its placement, including the dropping of suspended wickets from its frame, and the closure of auxiliary lock gates, allowed for the pumping out of the chamber and immediate inspection and repairs.

“I don’t know what their options (for stopping the flow) would have been without the swing dam,” said Harrison. “I guess they would have tried damming it up with timbers and rock but rock would have to be brought in by horse-drawn wagon . . . There would have been concern about the rock and timber being swept away with the current.”

It was urgent the canal regain its operational status. It was the preferred passage to and from Lake Superior. At that time, the Canadian canal possessed at least seven more inches of draft than its Michigan Sault counterparts.

The Ministry of Railways and Canals held the skipper and owners of the Perry G. Walker, Gilchrist Transportation Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, officially responsible for damages resulting from the incident and instructions were issued to detain the vessel until such time as security for damages to the canal was handed over.

The Perry G. Walker avoided Canadian passage for nearly five years. However, the books on the matter officially closed April 24, 1914, when the Canadian government accepted payment of $57,824 from Gilchrist Transportation.

The Sault Star — With files from archives; The Sault Ste. Marie Canal, a chapter in the history of Great Lakes Transport and The Break at the Canadian Canal, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, 1909, by Ron Harrison.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 8

June 8 1951, CLIFFS VICTORY entered Cleveland with a load of iron ore from Marquette. The VICTORY completed the one-way trip in 37 hours - 20 hours faster than the best previous time.

On 08 June 1854, J. YOUNG SCAMMON (2-mast wooden brig, built in 1845, at Chicago, Illinois) was sheltering from a storm at S. Manitou Island on Lake Michigan when she dragged her anchors, stranded and broke in three pieces. She was driven in so close to the shore that the crew was able to use a broken spar to climb to the beach. No lives lost.

On 08 June 1897, RITA MC DONALD (wooden propeller tug, 72 foot, 69 gross tons) was launched by J. Davidson (Hull #84) at West Bay City, Michigan. She lasted until 1920, when she was abandoned in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1978, the LEWIS WILSON FOY was christened for the Bethlehem Steel Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) OGLEBAY NORTON in 1991. She now sails as AMERICAN INTEGRITY.

In 1938, the GOVERNOR MILLER (Hull#810) a sister ship to the WILLIAM A. IRVIN, began her maiden voyage, leaving Lorain, Ohio. The GOVERNOR MILLER was only the 2nd Great Lakes vessel to be powered by a steam turbine with a direct drive to the propeller shaft via reduction gear.

In 1976 - the Midwest Energy Terminal at Superior, Wisconsin, loaded its first cargo of low-sulfur coal. The steamer JOHN J. BOLAND of 1953, took the honors as the first vessel to load at this dock. She was sold Canadian and renamed b.) SAGINAW in 1999.

On this date in 1977, the HARRY .L ALLEN was the first freighter to load at Burlington Northern's Dock #5 in Superior, Wisconsin.

On 8 June 1847, CHESAPEAKE (wooden side-wheeler, 172 foot, 412 tons, built in 1838, at Maumee, Ohio) was fully laden and had 97 aboard when she rammed the schooner JOHN F PORTER on a dark night off Conneaut, Ohio. As she started to sink, she was run to shore in an effort to save her, but she sank a mile short of the beach. Lake Erie was fairly calm and the crew and passengers tried to get to shore in boats and makeshift rafts. Most made it and many were also picked up by the steamer HARRISON. Estimates of the number of dead vary from 7 to 13. The wooden side-wheel tug and upriver packet TRAFFIC (75 foot, 50 tons, built in 1853, at St. Clair, Michigan) sank near Sebewaing, Michigan on 8 June 1868. She was recovered and repaired, but only lasted a little longer than a year since she burned in Saginaw in October 1869.

Data from: Jody L. Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Beeghly conversion complete, she’s ready to sail

6/7 - Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. – – Charles M. Beeghly was ballasted down and had her new diesels running at Bay Shipbuilding is Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. Saturday. The Beeghly entered the shipyard in November 2008 for conversion from steamer to diesel. Also at the shipyard, the Cason J. Callaway had steam up and may be getting ready to return to service after a short period of lay-up.

Jeff Birch

 

Port Reports - June 7

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The Grande Mariner arrived in Holland Saturday morning and tied up at the dock of Boatwerks Restaurant. Passengers toured the town for the day. The vessel departed in the evening and headed for Manistee.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Thursday the Quebecois arrived at 8 a.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco and then departed on Friday at 4:30 a.m. for the canal. Friday the AV Kastner arrived at 5:30 p.m. with gypsum and the Canadian Enterprise arrived at 10 p.m. with coal for Dofasco.

 

Updates - June 7

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 7

1958, the largest freighter ever built on the Great Lakes slid down the ways at River Rouge, Michigan. The new freighter was christened by Mrs. Edmund Fitzgerald and named EDMUND FITZGERALD. The 729 foot FITZGERALD was owned by Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company and operated by Columbia Transportation under a 25 year bare boat charter.

1977, tugs refused to tow the new MESABI MINER out of the harbor due to high winds. Captain William Mc Sweeney brought the MESABI MINER out under her own power to begin her maiden trip.

On 07 June 1890, EMILY P WEED (steel propeller freighter, 300 foot, 2,362 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #69) at W. Bay City, Michigan for the Hollister Transportation Co. She lasted until 02 September 1905, when she stranded on Sand Island Reef, Apostle Islands on Lake Superior and broke in two.

On 07 June 1862, MORNING STAR (wooden side-wheel steamer, 248 foot, 1,265 gross tons) was launched by A. A. Turner at Trenton, Michigan. She only lasted until 1868, when she sank in Lake Erie in a collision with the bark COURTLAND.

In 1977, the WILLIAM A IRVIN ran into the side of the Rock Cut after a power failure on board. The vessel received only slight damage. (For a more detailed account, read Jody Aho's book "The Steamer William A Irvin: Queen of the Silver Stackers").

On June 7, 1991, the ALPENA, the former LEON FRASER) began her maiden voyage as a cement carrier, departing Superior, Wisconsin, for her namesake port. Fraser Shipyards, who performed the conversion, took out a full-page ad in the Superior Evening Telegram proclaiming "INLAND LAKES MANAGEMENT, YOUR SHIP IS READY" and a picture of the vessel.

On 7 June 1859, COLUMBIA (2-mast wooden brig, 92 foot, 177 gross tons, built in 1842, at Sandusky, Ohio) broke up in a storm near Sherwood Point, Green Bay (Death's Door). She was famous for bringing the first load of copper ore from the Keweenaw Peninsula to through the Soo. She also brought the first locomotive to Marquette.

The METEOR (wooden steam barge, 201 foot, 729 gross tons, built in 1863, at Cleveland, Ohio) burned at Buckley's dock at the foot of 2nd Street in Detroit, Michigan on 7 June 1873. The fire supposedly started in her hold at 1:30 a.m. and was not discovered until it was too late. The ship burned to the waterline and sank. Some docks and warehouses also burned in this catastrophe. The wreck was raised in early September 1875, and towed to the foot of Belle Isle where the machinery and hull were sold at the U.S. Marshall's sale on 24 April 1876. Although originally thought to be the end of this vessel, the hull was purchased by Stephen B. Grummond of Detroit for $480. It was rebuilt as the schooner-barge NELSON BLOOM in 1882 and lasted until abandoned in 1925.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Port Reports - June 6

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The line of vessels loading at Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior was back to normal on Friday. By 7 a.m., James R. Barker was outbound on Lake Superior with coal bound for Detroit Edison in St. Clair, Michigan. American Century was loading at the terminal and Algosoo was anchored on the lake waiting for its turn to load later in the day. Saturday will be busy again with H. Lee White, Paul R. Tregurtha and Algolake all scheduled to load. Elsewhere, Algoisle was entering port bound for the CN/DMIR ore docks to load taconite pellets while Adam E. Cornelius remained at CHS grain terminal in Superior.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Friday morning at sunrise, Herbert C. Jackson arrived at the Upper Harbor ore dock to load taconite. Later in the morning, Michipicoten also arrived to load. Recently, Jackson has been the only vessel to load ore. The research vessel KIYI arrived in Marquette Thursday.

Muskegon, Mich. - Nathan Leindecker
The port of Muskegon was busy on Wednesday. Manitowoc unloaded at the Mart Dock and Algoway was unloading at Verplanks. Both vessels had departed by 1:30 p.m.

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
There were a number of vessel movements on the Saginaw River on Friday. The Tug Gregory J. Busch and her barge called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City during the morning. Friday afternoon saw the tug Olive L. Moore and her barge, Lewis J. Kuber arrive with a split load. The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville before heading upriver a few hours later to finish unloading at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. Following shortly behind the Moore-Kuber was the Manitowoc. She called on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City early Friday evening.

 

Minntac workers return after shutdown

6/6 - Duluth, Minn. – More than 300 workers returned to work at Minntac this week after a scheduled shutdown. The scheduled two-week vacation shutdown, which started the week of May 10, was extended one week, said Mike Woods, Steelworkers Local 1938 president. He said about 320 employees came back to work this week. Another three-week shutdown will begin June 28, Woods said. U.S. Steel Corp., owner of Minntac and Keewatin Taconite, lost $439 million during the first three months of 2009. In contrast, the company posted positive earnings of $235 million during the same period last year. The taconite and domestic steel industries have been hit hard over the past six months by the global economic recession. All of the state’s six operational taconite companies have announced some sort of layoffs or extended seasonal shutdowns. There have been rumors, however, that Minntac may increase production to a second line, Woods said, “but they have not informed me of anything yet.” U.S. Steel spokeswoman Courtney Boone declined to talk about the possibility of increasing production.

Duluth News Tribune

 

EPA appoints czar for Great Lakes clean up

6/6 - Traverse City, Mich. – A Chicago-based environmentalist has been appointed to oversee President Barack Obama's initiative to clean up the Great Lakes.

Cameron Davis, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, will head the restoration program, which is expected to cost more than $20 billion. "I'm excited, and this is a real testament to the passion and work that so many citizens are doing to put the Great Lakes on the map," Davis said Thursday. He said he couldn't comment further until after beginning his job next month.

Davis will coordinate efforts of about a dozen federal agencies working on the Great Lakes project, which deals with issues such as invasive species, polluted harbors, sewage overflows and degraded wildlife habitat. Obama promised during his campaign last year to create such a position and spend $5 billion over a decade toward implementing the restoration plan. His proposed 2010 budget seeks $475 million in new spending on the lakes.

Record-Eagle

 

Seaway releases traffic report

6/6 - The Traffic Report for The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation has been published online. The publication is prepared jointly by The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

Click here to view

 

Best spots in Michigan for wind turbines: Along Lake Michigan, atop Thumb

6/6 - Detroit, Mich. – Michigan has determined that the winds at the tip of the Thumb or along three stretches of Lake Michigan shoreline are the breeziest in the state.

The Wind Energy Resource Zone Board, created by the Legislature in an energy package passed last year, has identified the four that would be best for wind farm development.

The areas are Allegan County; portions of Benzie, Leelanau and Manistee counties; portions of Antrim and Charlevoix counties, and parts of the Thumb counties of Huron, Sanilac, Tuscola, Bay and Saginaw.

At heights of about 50-100 meters, where the turbines would be positioned, the mean wind speed in the four areas is 15-21 m.p.h. In southeast Michigan, the mean speed at 50 meters is about 10-12 m.p.h. The board found that those areas could accommodate 2,288 to 4,093 wind turbines generating up to 6,140 megawatts of power, which could produce electricity for up to 1.8 million homes.

The report doesn't mean, however, that wind turbines will start popping up in the targeted areas. The areas along Lake Michigan include some of the state's most spectacular scenery, including the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Leelanau County. Two public hearings have been scheduled on the findings - one in Bad Axe on Aug. 24 and a second in Scottville on Aug. 31. It would be up to developers to acquire the necessary land and get the proper permits from state and local governments to turn the land into wind farms.

The report doesn't mean that wind farms can't go elsewhere in Michigan. Five wind farms, with from 1 to 69 turbines, currently operate in the state. Under legislation passed last year, utilities must produce at least 10% of their capacity by 2015 from renewable sources.

Detroit Free Press

 

Updates - June 6

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 6

On 06 June 1891, BAY CITY (wooden propeller freighter, 152 foot, 372 gross tons, built in 1867, at Marine City, Michigan) burned to a total loss while being repaired at the foot of Rivard Street in Detroit, Michigan. She was loaded with 300,000 feet of white pine lumber at the time. Her watchman reported the fire during the night and firemen thought they had it out, but it re-ignited and the vessel burned to a total loss. This ship had previously burned 20 years before on 10 April 1871, when she was on her first trip of the season after being rebuilt over the winter. Then she caught fire and burned nearly to the waterline but was rebuilt again and lasted until this last fire in 1891.

On 06 June 1917, ISABELLA J BOYCE (wooden propeller sandsucker, 138 foot, 368 gross tons, built in 1889, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin as a freighter) grounded on Middle Bass Island in Lake Erie and then was destroyed by fire. No lives were lost.

In 1944, the C-4 bulk carrier MARINE ROBIN participated in the D-Day invasion at Normandy. In 1952, after conversion into a bulk freighter she began service in the lakes for M.A. Hanna Co., as b.) JOSEPH H. THOMPSON. She serves today as a tug barge combination created from the sections of the original vessel.

The E B BARBER (Hull#111) of the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co., entered service on June 6, 1953, for Algoma Central Railway Ltd.

In 1953, the ARMCO (Hull#870) began her maiden voyage from Lorain, Ohio, for the Columbia Transportation Div., bound for Superior, Wisconsin to load iron ore.

On June 6, 1959, the ADAM E. CORNELIUS (Hull#) 424) began her maiden voyage for the American Steamship Co., from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. This was the last Great Lakes vessel constructed with telescoping hatch covers. Sold Canadian and converted to a barge she was renamed b.) CAPT. EDWARD V. SMITH in 1988, and c.) SEA BARGE ONE in 1991 and d.) SARAH SPENCER in 1996. Currently in service being pushed by the tug JANE ANN IV.

Upper Lakes Shipping's POINTE NOIRE was in collision with Cleveland Tanker's SATURN on June 6, 1977, near Fighting Island in the Detroit River.

On 6 June 1869, ASA COVELL (wooden propeller tug, 20 gross tons, built in 1852, at Buffalo, New York) was towing the brig IROQUOIS up the Cuyahoga River at Cleveland when her boiler exploded and she sank. Her captain was killed when the pilothouse was blown into the river.

On 6 June 1883, HERCULES (wooden schooner-barge, 139 foot, 195 tons, built in 1867, at Algonac, Michigan) was upbound in the south bend of the St. Clair River near Algonac, Michigan when the CLARION (iron propeller package freighter, 240 foot, 1,711 gross tons, built in 1881, at Wyandotte, Michigan) overtook her and collided with her in broad daylight. HERCULES drifted to the bank, capsized and sank. No lives were lost.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Port Reports - June 5

Holland, Mich. - Bob Vande Vusse
The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived at the James DeYoung electric generating plant in Holland at about 10:30 Thursday morning with a cargo of coal from Toledo. It departed in the afternoon. The passenger vessel Grande Mariner is scheduled to stop in Holland on Saturday.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The usual visitors have been in port this week. Tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were under the silos at Lafarge on Monday morning and the tug Samuel de Champlain with barge Innovation arrived Tuesday afternoon. The research vessel Sturgeon was tied up in the river.

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
Agawa Canyon arrived on the Saginaw River early Monday morning, traveling up to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload. She was back outbound for the lake later in the day. On Tuesday, the tug Gregory J. Busch, pushing a deck barge, was outbound from the Saginaw River on the way out to the lake.

 

Updates - June 5

Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Red Wing gallery updated
News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 5

Over the Winter of 1960 - 1961, the CHARLES M SCHWAB was rebuilt by joining the forward end of the original SCHWAB with the after end of the former oil tanker GULFPORT. On this date in 1961, Captain Raphael "Dewey" Marsden conducted sea trials with the "new vessel" on Lake Erie between Lorain and Cleveland.

On 05 June 1884, the wooden 3-mast 139 foot schooner GUIDING STAR, which went ashore 12 miles north of Milwaukee on 06 November 1883, was finally abandoned when all efforts to release her had failed. About two-thirds of her cargo of coal was salvaged.

On 05 June 1888, the wreck of the tug FRANK MOFFAT was removed from the St. Clair River at Sombra, Ontario by the Canadian Government. The tug was wrecked when her boiler exploded in November 1885.

In 1972, the ROGER BLOUGH (Hull#900) was christened at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for U.S. Steel Corp.

Also in 1972, the PARKER EVANS was in collision with the upbound Erie Sand steamer SIDNEY E SMITH JR just below the Blue Water Bridge, at Port Huron, Michigan. The SMITH sank in twenty minutes with no loss of life. The EVANS, with bow damage, proceeded to Port Weller Dry Docks for extensive repairs. As a result of this accident, on October 4, 1972, alternate one-way traffic between the Black River Buoy and Buoys One and Two in Lake Huron was agreed upon by the shipping companies. Also a call-in system was initiated to monitor traffic between the Detroit River Light and Buoys 7 and 8 in Lake Huron by the newly established Sarnia Traffic.

On 05 June 1979, while carrying corn on Lake Superior, CARTIERCLIFFE HALL (steel propeller bulk freighter, 730 foot, 18,531 gross tons, built in 1960, in Germany as a.) RUHR ORE) caught fire 10 miles north of Copper Harbor, Michigan. Her crew abandoned ship in two life rafts and one lifeboat. Six died in this tragedy while five were injured; four (including Captain Raymond Boudreault) were injured seriously enough to be flown to the University of Michigan Burn Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. U. S. Steel's THOMAS W LAMONT rescued 17 at 4:52 a.m. while CSLÕs LOUIS R DESMARAIS rescued two more. The CARTIERCLIFFE HALL was towed to Thunder Bay by the tug PENNSYLVANIA the following day.

June 5, 1947, the Pere Marquette Railway was acquired by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.

LIGHTSHIP 103, (HURON) had her keel laid June 5, 1918, at Morris Heights, New York by Consolidated Shipbuilding Corp. Upon her retirement in 1971, the lightship was acquired by the City of Port Huron for use as a museum.

On 5 June 1864, COL A B WILLIAMS (2 mast wooden schooner, 110 foot, 150 tons, built in 1856, at Big Sodus, New York) was carrying coal on Lake Huron when she collided with the big ore-laden bark TWILIGHT. The WILLIAMS sank in 85 feet of water, 3 miles below Port Sanilac. Her crew was rescued by the TWILIGHT.

Shortly before midnight, Sunday, 5 June 1870, the WABASH and EMPIRE STATE collided in Lake Huron about 10 miles above Fort Gratiot Light. The WABASH sank and the EMPIRE STATE was damaged. The steamer JAY GOULD took the passengers off both vessels.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Corps awards $3.2 million contract for Soo Locks

6/4 - Detroit, Mich – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, has awarded a $3.2 million contract to fabricate equipment that will be used in maintenance at the Soo Locks.

The contract is the second awarded by the Detroit District that is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the economic Stimulus Package.

G&G Steel, a large-scale steel fabricator in Russellville, Ala., was awarded the $3,249,476 contract to construct and deliver six steel stoplogs for the Poe Lock, one of the two operational locks at the Soo, located on the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

The more than 100-foot long steel stoplogs will be used to stop the flow of water into the lock from the St. Marys River canal. This permits the lock chamber to be dewatered to conduct repairs and maintenance in a dry environment.

"The stoplogs will allow Soo employees to replace the Poe Lock’s gates, if they are damaged and can’t be repaired, said William O’Donoghue, the Detroit District’s Chief Technical Service Branch. "Not only can the stoplogs be used on the Poe Lock, but they can be used on a replacement lock once it’s built," O’Donoghue said.

The Corps will make an announcement in the coming weeks about the replacement lock, which will be funded by the 2009 Omnibus bill. The new lock will replace two older inoperable locks. The stoplogs project is one of 18 the Detroit District will complete with Recovery Act funds. The Detroit District received $41 million in Stimulus funds

The Soo Locks are vital to Great Lakes shipping and to the nation’s economy. In 2008, 8,461 vessels passed through the Soo Locks, carrying 80.6 million tons of cargo, mainly iron ore, coal, stone and other bulk products. Operation and maintenance of the Soo Locks falls under the jurisdiction of the Corps’ Detroit District. Located on the St. Marys River, the locks have been a part of the Corps’ navigation mission since 1881.

Up North Live

 

Drop in steel production leads to Seaway traffic plunge

6/4 – Freight traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway plunged nearly 40 percent in the first two months of the navigation season, mostly because steel plants along the Great Lakes are closed or operating at low capacity.

The Canadian and American Seaway corporations Wednesday recorded a 39.8 percent year-over-year drop in traffic to 5.69 metric tons from season-opening March 31 through May.

With one exception, every category of cargo was sharply down. U.S. and Canadian grain exports to Europe and the Mediterranean went against the trend and increased 6.7 percent to 1.6 million metric tons.

"We are tied very closely to the steel industry," noted Richard Corfe, president and CEO of Canada’s St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., and iron ore is down over 60 percent, coal almost 50 percent, the imported steel that goes to the United States down 30 percent, and no steel slabs at all have been imported this year."

"There’s not much to say except that it can only get better later in the year. That’s what we are starting to hear, an economic turn-around beginning in August or September, but we don’t know that at this stage," he said in an interview.

The large U.S. Steel Company plant at Hamilton, Ontario, is closed and its plant at Nanticoke, Ont., operates at much-reduced capacity. Another Canadian steelmaker, now owned by Arcelor Mittal, is on reduced operations. American steel plants at Cleveland, Toledo, Ohio, and elsewhere operate with a majority of blast furnaces closed.

Iron ore shipped on the Seaway is down 63.7 percent so far this year, at 1.15 million metric tons from 3.16 million in the period last year. Coal is down 48 percent, to 483,000 metric tonnes from 930,000. Coke for North American plants is down about 60 percent, Corfe said. European utilities have had strong demand for low-sulphur coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana through the Seaway, and that is down.

General cargo, which includes finished steel imports for the United States, is down 34.9 percent to 242,000 metric tons from 372,000, and other bulk, which includes chemicals (slightly up) and petroleum (down), came in at 2.2 million tons compared with 3.48 million last year.

The Journal of Commerce Online

 

Ships in St. Lawrence Seaway checked for invasive species

6/4 - Washington, D.C. – Speaking to a congressional committee, the head of the Canadian government corporation that maintains the St. Lawrence Seaway said it has implemented a ballast water inspection system on all of the ocean-going vessels that enter the Great Lakes through the waterway.

Collister Johnson, the head of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said the process was put in place in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard and Transport Canada. The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. is owned by the government and operates and maintains that part of the seaway between Montreal and Lake Erie.

Johnson – who said the inspection process has resulted in a decrease in the number of invasive species coming into the Great Lakes – spoke to the House Subcommittee on Water Resources, his remarks noted in a news release by one of its members, U.S. Rep Candice Miller, a Harrison Township Republican.

Miller got a similar provision into a House bill last year but it was not acted upon in the Senate.

“This is positive news for the Great Lakes,” Miller said after Johnson’s testimony. “Invasive species have had a negative impact on the Great Lakes and the vast majority of those species get here in the ballast water of ocean-going ships.”

Johnson said all ships before coming into the seaway must have their ballast tanks inspected and emptied, and that there is almost total compliance. Any ship not compliant must have their ballast tanks sealed as they enter the seaway and may not discharge ballast in the St. Lawrence Seaway or Great Lakes waters.

Detroit Free Press

 

Port Reports - June 4

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The parade of boats into Midwest Energy Terminal continued Wednesday. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. pulled away from the dock about 7 a.m. with a load destined for Nanticoke. Waiting a few hundred feet away was Atlantic Erie, already moving into the dock space vacated by the McCarthy. It loaded for Nova Scotia Power for Sydney. Meanwhile, Canadian Olympic was waiting at the port terminal for its turn to load. Anchored on the lake waiting were American Integrity and Canadian Progress. Due later on Wednesday were James R. Barker and American Century, with Algosoo due Thursday. Midwest Energy Terminal generally can load a 1,000-footer in eight hours.

Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. - Chris Wesendorf
 The Lee A. Tregurtha arrived at Bay Shipbuilding for what is believed to be a temporary lay-up. She arrived at the dock about 8 a.m. after backed in from Sherwood Point.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
English River arrived back in Toronto on Wednesday.

 

Wind turbine components begin arriving in Indiana

6/4 - Giant wind turbine components for one of the largest wind farms under construction in the state are being unloaded at the ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor.

The shipment of 30 power generators and turbine hubs are headed for the Meadow Lake wind Farm in White and Benton counties. The pieces were shipped from Vestas Wind Systems in Denmark, the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world.

A second ship is expected in mid-June carrying the 120-foot-long blades for the turbines. When the 26,000-acre wind farm is completed in northwestern Indiana, it's expected to power a quarter-million homes with up to 600 turbines in operation.

Jody Peacock with the Ports of Indiana says the port at Burns Harbor is the newest on the Great Lakes with more space and equipment to handle $1.5 to $2 billion of cargo annually. Indiana's ports mainly handle commodities like steel, grain and minerals, so handling equipment like wind turbine components represents a growth opportunity for them.

WIBC

 

WWII plane to return to Hawaii from Lake Michigan

6/4 - Honolulu – Hula dancers and a kahu's blessing will greet the expected recovery June 19 of a Pacific warrior — a World War II Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber that sits in "pristine" condition on the bottom of chilly Lake Michigan, officials said.

The recovery from a depth of 500 feet is expected to cost in excess of $300,000. Once restored, the historic aircraft will go on display at the Pacific Aviation Museum-Pearl Harbor, on Ford Island.

"We're excited as can be to have an aircraft that actually flew out of Pearl Harbor and Ford Island and was on the (aircraft carrier) Enterprise," said Ken DeHoff, the Pacific Aviation Museum's executive director.

About 39 of an estimated 300 military airplanes that went to the bottom of Lake Michigan during World War II, many in training accidents and mechanical malfunctions, have been recovered since the Navy program began in 1990, according to the National Naval Aviation Museum.

The deep and cold waters of Lake Michigan are excellent for preserving aircraft wrecks, and the radial-engined SBD that was retrieved April 24 — even though it was encrusted with zebra mussels — had clearly visible aircraft markings on its side.

That aircraft, destined for a museum in New Orleans, crashed on Nov. 24, 1944, during carrier qualification on the training aircraft carrier Wolverine, one of two paddlewheel steamers that had been converted to practice flattops.

Lake Michigan was used because it avoided the threat of German U-boat attacks. More than 17,000 pilots trained on the ships.

DeHoff said the SBD being recovered for the Pacific Aviation Museum, No. 2173, was being piloted by John Lendo in 1944 when the carburetor iced up and the airplane belly-landed in the lake. Lendo survived, he said.

The Dauntless was in Honolulu in 1942, flew off the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and later was used for carrier qualifications out of Chicago's Navy Pier and Glenview Naval Air Station, DeHoff said.

"This one was apparently covered with a lot of fishing nets, which really helped to keep the mussels off of it," DeHoff said. "So it's really supposedly in pristine condition." The more than $300,000 retrieval cost is being paid for by Fred L. Turner, former chairman and CEO of the hamburger chain McDonald's Corp., as well as by the corporation itself, DeHoff said.

Restoration at the National Naval Aviation Museum is expected to take several years.

The Honolulu Advertiser

 

Updates - June 4

Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Red Wing and Scott Misener gallery updated
News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated

 

Marine Mart and BoatNerd cruise this weekend

This weekend in Port Huron there will be a marine mart from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Seaway Terminal. Portholes, ship models, photos, books, artifacts and marine artwork are among the items to be displayed at the event sponsored by the Port Huron Museum, the Lake Huron Lore Marine Society, Acheson Ventures and the Great Lakes Nautical Society. The event is part of Be a Tourist in Your Own Town. Acheson Ventures will unveil “The History of Shipbuilding in Port Huron” the latest installment in the “Inspirations” exhibit. The Great Lakes Nautical Society will display more than 50 boat models and will have its fifth annual Great Lakes Regatta, which will include the demonstration of several models in a large water tank.

Following the marine mart is our annual cruise on the St. Clair River aboard the Huron Lady II. The Huron Lady II leaves at 5 p.m. from her dock next to the bridge in Port Huron. Hot dogs and beverages are available on board. BoatNerd price is just $12, but reservations are required. Tell them you are a Boatnerd to get the discount fare. Call 810-984-1500 for reservations. Parking and other information is available at www.HuronLady.com

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 4

1955, the J. L. MAUTHE established a new Great Lakes cargo record for a coal cargo delivered to an upper lakes port. She loaded 18392 tons of coal at the Toledo C&O dock.

1943, the BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, Captain Harry Ashby, delivered a record cargo of 19343.5 net tons of iron ore at Cleveland. The ore was loaded at Two Harbors, Minnesota.

In 1947, the Canada Steamship line steamer EMPEROR, loaded with ore and bound for Ashtabula, hit the rocks off Isle Royale at 4:10 a.m. The vessel sank within minutes but the crew was able to launch 2 lifeboats. Captain Eldon Walkinshaw, First Mate D. Moray, and 10 other crew members drowned when one of the lifeboats overturned. Twenty-one other survivors were rescued by the U.S.C.G. cutter KIMBALL.

In 1980, the second 1000- foot boat to join the United States Steel Great Lakes Fleet, the EDGAR B. SPEER, was christened at the Lorain yard of American Shipbuilding Company.

On 04 June 1872, while carrying wooden barrel staves from Bay City, Michigan to Buffalo, New York, the bark AMERICAN GIANT encountered rough weather off Port Stanley, Ontario, on Lake Erie. Heavy seas carried off her deck cargo of 25,000 staves and the vessel became water-logged. As the crew considered abandoning, the steamer MENDOTA saw their plight and took the GIANT in tow for Buffalo where they arrived the following day. For days afterward, other vessels reported the litter of barrel staves floating in the middle of Lake Erie.

At 2:00 a.m., 04 June 1891, in heavy fog, the NORTHERN QUEEN (steel propeller freighter, 299 foot, 2,476 gross tons, built in 1889, at Cleveland, Ohio) struck the schooner FAYETTE BROWN (wooden schooner, 178 foot, 553 gross tons, built in 1868, at Cleveland, Ohio) about ten miles off Dummy Light on Lake Erie. The BROWN which was loaded with stone blocks quickly sank in over sixty feet of water. One of the schooner's crewmen climbed aboard the QUEEN while the others barely had time to scramble up the schooner's masts. Accounts of the accident differ. The schooner's skipper claimed that the NORTHERN QUEEN continued on her journey while the schooner's crew clung to the masts while the skipper of the NORTHERN QUEEN claimed that he tried to find survivors, but lost the wreck in the fog and reluctantly continued on his journey, figuring that there were no survivors. Nevertheless, about an hour after the disaster, the steamer ROBERT MILLS (wooden propeller freighter, 256 foot, 1,790 gross tons, built in 1888, at Buffalo, New York) came along, heard the cries of the unfortunate seamen clinging to the masts and rescued them. No lives were lost.

On 04 June 1881, the OGEMAW (wooden propeller freighter, 167 foot, 624 gross tons) was launched at Simon Langell's yard in St. Clair, Michigan for Mr. Wood & Company of Cleveland, Ohio.

CLIFFS VICTORY sailed on her maiden voyage in ballast from South Chicago, Illinois, in 1951

On June 4, 1968, the keel for the OTTERCLIFFE HALL (Hull#667) was laid at Lauzon, Quebec, by Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., for the Hall Corporation of Canada. Renamed b.) ROYALTON in 1983, c.) OTTERCLIFFE HALL in 1985, d.) PETER MISENER in 1988 and e.) CANADIAN TRADER in 1994. She arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping on January 7, 2005.

The EDGAR B. SPEER (Hull#908) was christened on June 4th 1980, at Lorain, Ohio, for the Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., Hartford, Connecticut, managed by the Great Lakes Fleet of the United States Steel Corp., Duluth, Minnesota.

In 1988, the IRVING S. OLDS departed Duluth under tow of tug SALVAGE MONARCH, headed for overseas scrapping. She was scrapped by Sing Cheng Yung Iron & Steel Co., in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, scrapping began on November 24, 1988.

June 4, 1940 - Oiler George Riemersma (age 50) died of a heart attack while at work on the PERE MARQUETTE 21.

June 4, 1942 - John A. Clancey, 58, general manager of the Grand Trunk Western Railway and president of the Grand Trunk Milwaukee Carferry Co. died suddenly of a heart attack while at his desk in Detroit.

The Port Huron Times reported that "The new trim and tidy tug, the P L JOHNSON, built for Capt. Sol Rummage, passed up last night with her first tow. She is of medium size and wears the national colors on her smokestack for which some of the boys call her a floating barber shop."

On 4 June 1859, GENERAL HOUSTON (2-mast wooden schooner, 83 foot, 123 tons, built in 1844, at French Creek, New York) was bound from Port Huron for Buffalo with a load of lumber. During a terrific gale, she missed the mouth of the Grand River near Fairport, Ohio and went on the pier where she broke up. Fortunately no lives were lost. The lighthouse keeper on the pier where she broke up later refused to light the lantern while the wreck was in place for fear of drawing other vessels into it. The U. S. Government quickly contracted to remove the hulk from the channel, but a month later, a storm did the job for free, obliterating the wreck so completely that it was reported to have just "disappeared."

June 4th, 2001, marks the 100th anniversary of the famous race between the TASHMOO and the CITY OF ERIE, an exciting race that included many thousands of dollars in wagers, great advance publicity, and the use of many other boats to watch the action along the way. The drama was such that carrier pigeons were released at various times to take the latest updates to waiting newspaper reporters. The CITY OF ERIE won the race in a very close match, and the story has been retold in several books about the Great Lakes.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

S.S. Badger must stop dumping ash by 2012

6/3 - Ludington, Mich. – On one side, Ludington's S.S. Badger is lauded, revered and adored for its uniqueness as the last operating coal-fired passenger ship in the United States.

On the other, it faces environmental regulation for that very reason ¬– coal, or, in this case, a coal-burning waste product, ash.

With coal burning comes waste, emissions through the stack – specifically exempt from regulation by Wisconsin and Michigan state law – but also an ash slurry that is dumped daily into Lake Michigan. That ash discharge used to be considered normal operating procedure for coal-fired vessels. A 1973 portion of the U.S. Clean Water Act – when there were still more than 50 coal-fired vessels operating – stated discharges like the Badger's, which are "incidental to normal operations," were allowed.

Not anymore come 2012. The U.S. EPA lost a ballast water lawsuit, affirmed on appeal last year, and was forced to begin making shipping companies seek permits for their discharges, and to do so quickly. Lake Michigan Carferry is OK to operate as is after bringing its case to Lansing and Washington, D.C. – but only for three more years.

Now the clock is ticking as LMC comes up with a plan and changes the boiler system or removes the boilers and goes to diesel engines. There are options, and Lake Michigan Carferry President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Manglitz said there is time for LMC to get the job done to keep the May-October cross-lake car ferry between Ludington and Manitowoc in business.

Manglitz has no intention of letting the Badger stop sailing. He took over operations of the car ferry business from his father-in-law, the late Charles Conrad, who revived the cross-lake service in 1991. Conrad died in 1995. "My father-in-law wanted the car ferry service to run for another 100 years," he said.

"It has often been said that the owners of the Badger are only temporary custodians of a historic treasure," said Don Clingan, vice president and partner of Lake Michigan Carferry. "The car ferry legacy belongs to the communities it serves, and we feel a tremendous responsibility to our 250-plus employees and the economies of both of our port cities."

LMC hired a firm, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, Preston Gates Ellis, of Washington, D.C., to work on its behalf. The firm sent a document to the EPA in October 2008 stating, "Unless (LMC) can gain clarification soon that it will be permitted to operate next year until the VGP or otherwise, it will shut down permanently this fall, rather than incur debt that it may not be able to repay."

The options
1. Keep the boilers, get a new fuel source.

Manglitz's first choice is to use the boiler system in place now and keep the Badger operating as a steamship, in part due to its historical significance and in part due to the $1 million the company has spent on it, including $250,000 in the last year.

He likes the idea of keeping the boilers and using a different fuel source, one that doesn't leave ash as a waste product. The company is looking into liquid coal and other options, working with engineers to find something that will work for the Badger.

2. Redesign the engine area, capture ash and truck it to a landfill.

The company could redesign the engine area to store the ash until it gets to shore and have it trucked to a landfill as power plants do with their ash, but Manglitz would just as soon get out of the business of producing ash at all, if possible.

3. Remove the boiler system and install diesel engines.

His last choice but still an option is to remove the boiler system and replace it with diesel engines. There are issues there as well, from the cost of that process to the environmental concerns.

"You lose the historical aspect, you lose the investment, and the EPA is really changing the law on diesel," he said.

In the end, he thinks the car ferry's own crew will find a solution. "It's not technically impossible," said LMC Chief Engineer Chuck Cart. "It's going to be a challenge and an expense the company will have to bear forevermore. The equipment used now has long been paid for." "We're looking at all our options," he said. "We have to look at everything."

Ludington Daily News

 

Great Lakes shippers lose ballast ruling

6/3 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The shipping industry has lost another round in its fight to keep states from passing their own ballast rules to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species.

A New York State Supreme Court justice on Friday tossed out a shipping industry challenge of that state's tough new ballast treatment requirements intended to keep freighters from dumping unwanted organisms into the world's largest freshwater system.

"This decision is a critical win for New York's right and responsibility to protect our Great Lakes and resources," New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "The court's decision not only defends our state's actions, but affirms our right to take necessary measures to fight the plague of invasive species."

Steve Fisher of the American Great Lakes Ports Association said of the ruling: "Obviously we disagree. We haven't decided regarding an appeal yet."

The decision could be seen as good news for supporters of Wisconsin's proposed ballast rules, which are similar to those adopted by New York.

Wisconsin's draft rules, released in February, would force the shipping industry to install ballast treatment systems by 2012 - the same year New York's would take effect. The Department of Natural Resources held a public hearing in March, and on Monday, Paul Luebke, who drafted the rules, said revisions are being made. He could not offer specifics.

"It is still very much a work in progress," he said.

Michigan has led the way for Great Lakes states to try to solve a problem that Congress has been unsuccessfully wrestling with for years. Michigan was the first to pass its own ballast discharge laws, which the shipping industry unsuccessfully challenged in court.

But because most ballast discharges by ocean-going vessels happen at the twin ports of Duluth and Superior, the states that hold the most sway are Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Wisconsin DNR officials have said they would prefer that Congress pass a national law to protect all the lakes from the relatively few overseas ships that visit the region annually. But absent federal action, Wisconsin environmental regulators say they have no choice but to pursue their own rules, which are similar to what's been proposed in New York.

Minnesota is pursuing weaker rules that would not kick in until 2016.

The shipping industry has long feared that states acting unilaterally will create a patchwork of regulations that could be difficult to navigate.

Other industries, however, are jeopardized by the shipping industry's ballast habits. The Great Lakes are now home to more than 180 non-native species. Contaminated discharges from ballast tanks, which steady ships, are the culprit for most recent invasions.

Shipborne invaders such as the zebra and quagga mussels and the round goby have caused immeasurable harm to the once-isolated lakes.

Conservationists said the New York ruling signals a new chapter in the fight to protect the lakes.

"These rules don't just protect the ecosystem; they help defend multibillion-dollar tourism, fishing and recreational boating industries in New York and throughout the Great Lakes," said Thom Cmar, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "This ruling sends a strong message to other Great Lakes states and (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), after 30 years of inaction, to finally slam the door on invasive species by requiring the shipping industry to install effective protections."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Seaway Marine and Industrial lands $2.7M contract

6/3 - St. Catharines, Ont. – A $2.7-million contract awarded to Seaway Marine and Industrial Inc. in St. Catharines will employ 35 hourly workers and help transform its dry docks into a state-of-the-art ship service center.

The work involves a refit to the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Griffon and includes $450,000 worth of federal stimulus money.

"Certainly, I'm delighted to see this work being done," said John Dewar, vice-president of strategic services for Upper Lakes Marine and Industrial Inc. - Seaway Marine's parent company.  "We're delighted we were able to win the competition to bring this work here to St. Catharines."

Dewar, who spoke at a media event at the Port Weller site, said he doubted the Coast Guard would have had the funding for the work without the stimulus money.

The federal cash for the overhaul is in this year's budget, which includes $175 million for shipbuilders to construct 98 new, small Coast Guard ships and refit 40 older vessels.

The local retrofit will modernize the vessel and involve overhauling the ship's primary mission equipment. It replaces the buoy handling crane and other equipment like generators and air compressors. The vessel is scheduled to arrive midweek and work will likely continue until mid-August.

"This supports plans at Seaway Marine and Industrial to convert the shipbuilding site into a state-of-the-art ship service centre," said Dykstra said at the media event. "It's one of many projects that (Seaway Marine) plans to be working on for the government ... as well as the commercial marine sector.

"We need to make sure the federal government plays their role -- they own the land here, and we want to be a long-time landlord of Seaway Marine and Industrial," Dykstra said.

Dewar said the contract is part of Seaway Marine's push to change its business model.  Historically, the shipyard -- formerly the Port Weller Dry Docks-- was a leading site for building lakers that plied the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes system. Dewar said given current global market conditions, it's unlikely the shipyards could compete in that sector "for the foreseeable future."

Seaway Marine is competitive in the ship-repair sector, however: "And we're determined to do that," he said. A couple of ship repair contracts have happened recently, Dewar added. The latest is the Upper Lakes Shipping bulk carrier Montrealais, which is having its bow section repaired.

"We're looking at doing improvements on the docks, as well as reorganizing the way the yard is laid out to do repair work," Dewar said. "And we're still going to compete for building projects -- where it makes sense for us to do so."

Among those efforts is a bid for the construction of up to 12 Canadian Coast Guard patrol boats that could be worth more than $200 million. "We think we've got a very competitive bid," Dewar said.

"We're all working hard to (get it)."

Dewar also praised the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, which represents most of the workers at the shipyard. He said the Boilermakers "have been behind us 100 per cent ... they've been entirely co-operative in helping us restructure a new model to do the work. "It's been a very business-oriented focus."  About 25 hourly and salaried people are currently working at Seaway Marine.

Welland Tribune

 

Port Reports - June 3

Houghton/Hancock, Mich. - Ryan Greenleaf
USCG Hollyhock was in the Portage Canal, setting buoys on the canal east of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. She docked at the city dock next to the bridge at around 1 p.m. to spend the night. She is expected to set buoys west of the bridge and at Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor Wednesday.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Frontenac shifted over from Andersons K Elevator to Andersons E elevator to finish loading grain and departed from Toledo Tuesday evening. Saginaw finished unloading oats at the Kuhlman Dock and departed Tuesday afternoon for the CSX Coal Docks to load coal. The tug Sea Eagle II with the barge St. Marys Cement II were at the St. Marys Cement Dock unloading cement. John J. Boland was at the Midwest Terminal Dock loading cargo. The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be Herbert C. Jackson on Wednesday, Calumet on Thursday followed by Manitowoc on Monday. The next ore boat due into the Torco Ore Dock will be Canadian Navigator on Wednesday.

 

Algowood crewman evacuated on Lake Erie

6/3 - Lake Erie Shortly after 7 a.m. on Sunday, the Algowood, in transit on Lake Erie, contacted the Canadian Coast Guard to advise that a crewmember was in need of medical attention. As a result, the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessels Pop's Pride and Maverick from Port Burwell and Port Stanley respectively were tasked to respond along with the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Cape Lambton and a Department of National Defense Griffon helicopter. Algowood was about 20 miles SSE of Port Burwell at the time of the incident with seas at 1 metre and winds NW at 10 knots, gusting to 25 knots.

gtAlgowood altered course towards Port Burwell, a former commercial port but now only able to accommodate commercial fishing vessels and recreational vessels due to shallow depths to reduce transit time for an interception by the responding vessels.

The Auxiliary Vessel Pop's Pride arrived on scene approximately 20 minutes prior to Maverick and successfully evacuated the crewman to awaiting EMS on shore.

Appropriate thanks were given to the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Pops Pride by the Algowood.

 

Retired Coast Guard cutter to be museum in Ohio

6/3 - Cleveland, Ohio - A retired Coast Guard cutter has arrived in Cleveland, where it will become a floating museum.

The cutter Apalachee docked in Cleveland on Monday, manned by members of the Coast Guard Tug Association from Oswego, N.Y. The organization plans to restore the Apalachee and turn it into a museum.

The 110-foot cutter was commissioned in 1943 and spent most of its career in Baltimore.

Retired Chief Warrant Officer Dave Cunningham commanded the voyage to Cleveland and was the commander of the Apalachee when it was decommissioned in 1986.

The cutter spent the last two decades around Oswego Bay until its civilian owner donated it to the tug association.

 

Dry month slows Lake Superior rise

6/3 - Lake Superior continued to rise in May, just not as fast as usual, thanks to a dry month over much of the big lake’s watershed.

The International Lake Superior Board of Control reports that the lake rose 3 inches, an inch less than usual for May. The lake sits about 5 inches below the long-term June 1 average but 2 inches higher than the same time last year.

Duluth is 1.71 inches below normal for rainfall since April 1.

After brushing with record low levels in 2007, Lake Superior generally has been moving closer to normal levels.

Lakes Michigan and Huron rose 4 inches in May, an inch more than usual, and sit a foot higher than the June 1, 2008, level and just 5 inches below normal.

Duluth News Tribune

 

Erie Port Authority gets part of $8.8 million grant

6/3 - The city of Erie and the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority will received a combined $8.8 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for "smart transportation" projects.

The Port Authority's will receive a $5.3 million award that will be split into two projects, pending PennDOT approval: the construction of a $5 million welcome center and a $300,000 market study of container shipping coming into and going out of Erie's port.

Port Authority Executive Director Ray Schreckengost announced Monday plans for the $5 million welcome center near the intersection of West 12th Street and Lincoln Avenue, on a now-vacant parking lot leased by the Port Authority.

The award from the state will cover the project design and construction and the purchase of the lot from Giant Eagle, Schreckengost said.

The authority will spend another $300,000 on a market study of container shipping in an effort to work with Melford International Terminal Inc., a shipping company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that is looking to expand into the Great Lakes.

Go Erie

 

Prominent Wallaceburg historian Alan Mann dies

6/3 - Wallaceburg, Ont. – Alan Mann, known for his interest and pursuit of chronicling, revealing and saving Wallaceburg's proud history as well as being involved in a number of community organizations, died Monday.

He was 73 and had battled cancer the past few years.

Mann authored 11 books on marine history and wrote for several marine and historical publications. He was named Historian of the Year by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit in 1999.

Mann worked tirelessly to promote Wallaceburg and area's history. He was involved with the Wallaceburg Museum, Wallaceburg Antique and Motor Boat Outing (WAMBO), the Wallaceburg and District Historical Society, the Wallaceburg Hornets Oldtimers hockey club and the Wallaceburg Sports Hall of Fame, all as charter members.

Former Wallaceburg News editor John Gardiner often referred to Mann as the "heart and soul of Wallaceburg."

One of Mann's most satisfying projects was the five years he spent researching and compiling detailed profiles of local war casualties for his book, No Return Ticket.

"One of the great people that this community should treasure is Al Mann. He has been an inspiration to anybody who looks into the history of this community," said McClure in 2004 when the Rock of Honor was created.

Chatham Daily News

 

Updates - June 3

Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Red Wing gallery updated
News Photo Gallery
Badger Gathering Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 3

On 03 June 1882, the schooner C BELL was launched at the yard of Mason, Corning & Company in East Saginaw, Michigan. Her dimensions were 185 foot x 30 foot x 11 foot and she cost $20,000.

The JOHN B AIRD was christened in 1983, at Thunder Bay for Algoma Central Marine, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

After successfully completing her sea trials on June 3, 1951, the CLIFFS VICTORY entered service for Cleveland Cliffs Steamship Co., a little under six months from the time she was purchased from the U.S.M.C. The PATERSON (Hull#113) of the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., entered service for N.M. Paterson & Sons Ltd., on June 3, 1954, by carrying 440,000 bushels of wheat from Port Arthur, Ontario. She was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1985.

On 3 June 1870, T F PARK (wooden side-wheeler, 170 foot, 450 tons, built in 1851, at Chatham, Ontario) caught fire and burned to the waterline at the dock near the Detroit & Milwaukee Grain Elevator at Detroit, Michigan. The hull was later removed after being struck by several vessels.

On 3 June 1875, the iron carferry HURON (238 foot, 1,052 gross tons) was launched at Point Edward, Ontario for the Grand Trunk Railway. Miss Jessie S. Hughes of Toronto christened the vessel with a bottle of wine. The hull's iron plates were manufactured in Scotland and shipped to Point Edward where they were assembled. Work began on 12 August 1874. Her engine and boiler were built by Mr. Wilson at Dundas, Ontario. This vessel ran between Windsor and Detroit for over a century. Her hull is still in existence, submerged in the old Great Lakes Engineering Works slip in River Rouge, Michigan.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Karen Andrie heads to Quebec to meet her new barge

6/2 - The tug Karen Andrie is heading for Les Escoumins pilot station to meet up with the tug Stephen Dann and the new asphalt barge Endeavour, after which the tug will head up river to Montreal.

The barge was built at the Jeffboat yard in Jeffersonville, Ind., and has a capacity of 50,000 barrels of asphalt. The barge is 360 feet by 60 feet, with a 24 foot molded depth. The barge’s cargo system includes a Fulton Thermal FT-1400-C with a 12m BTU-per-hour capacity that incorporates 32,500 feet of 2.5-inch pipe and an insulated deck to keep the cargo at the proper temperature for delivery even while underway. The two Warren 2,500 gpm cargo pumps are powered by a pair of Cummins QSM11-M engines each rated for 355 hp (continuous duty). An additional Cummins QSM11-DM powers a 250 kW electric generator. A 27-ft. deep notch fitted with JAK articulation socket plates characterizes the stern of the barge.

The 120-ft. 3,600 h.p. tug Karen Andrie was fitted with the cylinder units for the JAK-400 coupling system over the winter in anticipation of the new barge.

The tug was then repowered and a larger, modern upper pilot house was completed by the Great Lakes Shipyard, Cleveland, Ohio.

Kent Malo

 

Port Reports - June 2

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Midwest Energy Terminal is the busiest dock in the Twin Ports these days, but Monday was exceptional. Paul R. Tregurtha was loading there Monday morning, to be followed by James R. Barker later in the day. In line behind the Barker were CSL Laurentian and Canadian Transport, with Indiana Harbor due to arrive later. Three more vessels are scheduled for Tuesday. Elsewhere in port, Kaministiqua was loading at HSC berth 2 in Superior while Nassauborg was loading at General Mills elevator in Duluth.

Marquette, Mich – Lee Rowe
The Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore on a cold Monday in Marquette.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The Manitowoc arrived in Holland Monday morning with a load of coal from the KCBX terminal in Chicago. It departed in the early afternoon. Tug Dorthy Ann and barge Pathfinder are expected Wednesday with coal from Toledo.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The tug Dorothy Ann with the barge Pathfinder finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed Monday afternoon. Frontenac was at Andersons K Elevator loading grain. Saginaw was at the Kuhlman Dock unloading oats; when finished she will then proceed to the CSX Docks to load coal. The tug Sea Eagle II with the barge St. Marys Cement was inbound Toledo Ship Channel late Monday evening bound for the St. Marys Cement Dock to unload cement. The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the Saginaw on Tuesday followed by Herbert C. Jackson and Calumet on Thursday. The next ore boat due into the Torco Ore Dock will be the Canadian Navigator on Wednesday. The American Fortitude at Lakefront Docks, American Valor at CSX# 1 Dock, and American Republic at Interlake Iron Dock remain in lay-up.

Toronto, Ont. – Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman was docked in Toronto at 5:30 a.m. on Monday. English River had departed Toronto by that time. Roman departed Toronto by 12:30 p.m. on Monday

Montreal, Que. – Kent Malo
The tug Mary E Hannah, and her barge CBC 4507, are in Montreal loading large pieces of refinery parts unloaded from the saltwater motor vessel Jumbo Javelin. The parts are destined for the Chicago area.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Saturday the bunkering ship Hamilton Energy arrived from Port Weller at 12:30 p.m. On Sunday, Catharine Desgagnes departed at 5 a.m. Hamilton Energy departed at 9 a.m. and returned to port at 3 p.m. Algoisle arrived at 9 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Port Cartier. Monday the tug Omni Richelieu departed at 7:30 p.m. to help the Sidsel Knutsen dock at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 10 a.m., and John B Aird arrived in Hamilton at 9 p.m.

 

Taconite, in search of new markets, ships out for road construction

6/2 - Duluth, Minn. – The sight of 5,000 tons of taconite waiting to be loaded onto a barge at Duluth’s Hallett Dock last week was enough to put a broad smile on the face of Larry Zanko, a research fellow for the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute. For the past several years, Zanko and others at the institute have been testing taconite as an aggregate road base.

The iron-bearing rock has been applied to a bridge deck in International Falls and has been used to construct small stretches of road throughout the state, including a segment of U.S. Highway 53 north of Independence. “The biggest projects we’ve done up until now have involved hundreds of tons, but this is getting closer to the scale we’d hoped to see,” Zanko said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

In the past several years, about $2 million has been invested to study and evaluate taconite’s suitability for use as aggregate, railroad track ballast and other applications, said Don Fosnacht, director of the NRRI’s Center for Applied Research and Technology Development. Now that investment could begin to pay off. “We’ve had several meetings with end users. And based on those conversations, I think that within the next couple years, we could be shipping substantial quantities of taconite into markets such as Chicago,” said Mike Urie, logistics manager for Laurentian Aggregate, the Duluth-based company that orchestrated Thursday’s 5,000-ton shipment of rock on the barge Pere Marquette 41, pushed by the tug Undaunted.

Jeffrey Heller, president of Laurentian Aggregate, foresees a day in the not-too-distant future when a dedicated laker, carrying 25,000 tons per load, could be kept busy hauling taconite throughout the shipping season. The ability to move the material by water is key to keeping transportation costs in check, Zanko said. Maritime shipping could provide less expensive access to distant Great Lakes markets, such as Chicago or Milwaukee, than to landlocked destinations, such as the Twin Cities, he said. “To ship by rail to the Twin Cities, you have to deal with two separate railroad companies, and each wants more than the other,” said Ron Johnson, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s director of trade and development.

Even though shipping taconite by water is relatively cost-effective, Fosnacht acknowledged that transportation costs for the initial taconite sent to Chicago last week were subsidized. Heller is convinced that once contractors in the Chicago market gain firsthand experience using the material and see its advantages, additional orders will follow. Fosnacht said many of the dolomite- and limestone-based materials currently used for road construction in Illinois are considerably softer than taconite aggregate. He said that by incorporating taconite into roads, their usable life could perhaps be doubled. An added advantage is that taconite aggregate offers improved traction, Fosnacht said.

Providing a market for waste rock with relatively low iron content also could make Iron Range mines more cost-competitive, ensuring the longevity of their operations. That’s not to mention the benefits to the Twin Ports’ maritime community.

Mike McCoshen, president of Hallett Dock Co., said he’s willing and eager to handle more taconite for Laurentian Aggregate if the market develops. He believes Hallett is uniquely positioned to play a useful role. “We have more of a boutique setup,” he explained. “Almost all the other facilities in our port are product-specific operations. But we can handle anything and everything.” As for the handling qualities of the aggregate, McCoshen said: “It’s very abrasive material, and it’s a little tough on our hoppers, but it flows very well.”

Duluth News Tribune

 

Improvements on Canadian Soo lock result in delays

6/2 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Work to replace all eight of the gate anchors on the recreational lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada is taking longer than originally expected.

Parks Canada and its contractors are currently discussing a revised schedule for the repairs, with the intention of opening the lock to operations as quickly as possible. While the lock remains closed, access for boat traffic between Lake Huron and Lake Superior is available via the American locks on the St. Marys River.

The upgrades to the gate anchors are a necessary investment in the long-term sustainability of the recreational lock that is also frequently used by local tour boats but is too small for commercial freighters.

The anchor design is being upgraded to better carry the weight of the gates, and withstand the pressure put upon the gates during operations.

Completed in 1895, the Sault Ste. Marie Canal was the largest lock in the world when it opened and the first to be electrically operated. The construction of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal marked the completion of an all-Canadian waterway from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior.

In 1998, following lock reconstruction, the canal was re-opened to recreational boat traffic. Today, the lock is operated and maintained jointly by the City of Sault Ste. Marie and Parks Canada.

Soo Today

 

Jim Acheson to receive Lifetime Achievement Award

6/2 - Port Huron, Mich. – Talk to the people who know Jim Acheson best and one word always seems to surface: humble.

“Whenever Jim gives, he never says ‘I did it,’ but says ‘that it is only possible because of the people who worked with me and for me,’” said John Shier, who worked with Acheson and his father for 49 ½ years at Acheson Industries. “Jim doesn’t go up and say ‘I want my name on this, I want my name on that.’”

On June 11, Acheson will get his name on something: the Community Foundation of St. Clair County’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to philanthropy. He is receiving the award as the foundation celebrates its 65th anniversary.

Randy Maiers, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer, said Acheson gives to many things, including scholarships, the foundation itself, downtown projects and infrastructure needs. Five endowment funds at the Community Foundation bear the Acheson name. In fact, it often seem too extensive to state, Maiers said. “The variety of his interest has been phenomenal,” Maiers said. “It is an amazing track record.”

Acheson’s philanthropy started in 1998 when he sold Acheson Industries, a company his grandfather founded, for about $700 million. He then created the Acheson Ventures development company and hired a full-time staff to run it. They brought in world-class experts on urban development.

Since then, Acheson has dedicated much of his philanthropy to the south side of Port Huron, where he grew up. His crown jewel is Desmond Landing, a mile-long ribbon of property overlooking the St. Clair River between the Seaway Terminal and the mouth of the Black River.

His vision is to transform what was a veritable wasteland and abandoned railroad bed to public recreation space. The transformation has started, in part, with the establishment of Vantage Point and the Great Lakes Maritime Center. Vantage Point is a very popular spot for boatwatchers to gather and is home to the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters.

Maiers wouldn’t provide an exact number but said that Acheson has given millions of dollars to the foundation. Acheson was not available for comment.

“His interests are very broad, much bigger than people realize because he is not out there saying ‘look what I did,’” he said. “And I’m sure he’s done stuff we are not even aware of.” Port Huron Times Herald

 

Ballast tank clean-out would be perfect for “Dirty Jobs”

6/2 - The popular cable television show “Dirty Jobs” has included episodes painting and cleaning the Mackinac Bridge and working at the Soo Locks. Now, viewers of this web site have suggested the show’s host work on a Great Lakes freighter cleaning ballast tanks. Please visit this link to view the suggestion and add you comments.

“Dirty Jobs” is a program on the Discovery Channel in which host Mike Rowe is shown performing difficult, strange, disgusting, and/or messy occupational duties alongside the typical employees.

 

List follows mid season lay-ups; send in your observations

6/2 - The lay-up list on BoatNerd.com normally focuses on winter lay-ups, however, because of the numerous mid season lay-ups (Edward L. Ryerson, Cason J. Callaway, Mesabi Miner, Wilfred Sykes to name a few), we have begun tracking those on the page as well. Our current list is not complete; please e-mail news@boatnerd.net if you can provide more details as vessels enter or leave layup. View the layup list here

 

Updates - June 2

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Badger Gathering Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated Ships gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 2

On 02 June 1958, the Liberian-flagged freighter MOUNT DELPHI sank enroute to Karachi, Pakistan. She was built by the British American Shipbuilding Company at Welland, Ontario, during the final years of World War I. She had 12 different owners during her career and had been seized by Vichy interests at Casablanca, Morocco, in 1940, and then by the Italian government in 1942.

On 02 June 1893, CORSICAN (wooden schooner, 112 foot, 210 gross tons, built in 1862, at Olcott, New York) was carrying coal from Cleveland, Ohio to St. Ignace, Michigan, on a foggy night on Lake Huron. She collided with the iron steamer CORSICA and sank quickly off Thunder Bay Island. All six onboard went down with her. The wounded CORSICA was beached near Ossineke, Michigan, and was later patched and proceeded to Ashtabula, Ohio.

In 1973, the SYLVANIA, downbound light in fog, collided with the FRANK PURNELL just north of the Detroit River Light at 05:23 hours. The SYLVANIA suffered minor bow damage and went to Toledo for repairs.

On 2 June 1855, J.W. BLAKE (wooden scow-schooner, 68 foot, 33 tons, built in 1853, at Dover, Ohio) was carrying lumber in a storm four miles off Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, when she capsized. Her crew escaped in her yawl, but it was a very close call for one who was asleep below decks when she capsized. The vessel was later recovered and put back in service.

June 2, 1988 - The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 took on 17 truck loads of lake trout, which were planted off Beaver Island.

On 2 June 1882, INDUSTRY (wooden schooner, 63 foot, 30 tons, built in 1847, at Michigan City, Indiana) capsized and sank just a half mile from South Haven, Michigan. The three crewmen clung to the wreck for a while as rescue attempts were made from shore, but they all perished. The wreck later drifted to the beach about five miles south of town and went to pieces.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Port Reports - June 1

Green Bay, Wisc. – Scott Best
Saturday evening was a busy one on the Fox River in Green Bay. The Olive L Moore and Lewis J. Kuber had arrived earlier in the day with stone for the Western Lime Dock, around 5 p.m. the American Courage arrived at the mouth of the Fox River heading all the way up to Georgia Pacific with a load of coal. Finally around 7 p.m. the Cuyahoga was making the turn into the Fox River Dock slip with a load of salt, at the same time the Moore and Kuber were turning around in the East River turning basin to depart for the lake.

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
It has been a few days since there has been any commercial traffic on the Saginaw River, but that changed Sunday morning with the arrival of the Calumet. Carrying a split load, Calumet lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before heading upriver to finish at the Saginaw Wirt Stone dock. She departed the Wirt Saginaw dock around 7pm, turned at Sixth Street and was outbound for the lake.
For the Month of May and for 2009, the numbers for vessel passages are down once again. There were 25 commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River in May. This is six less in in May of 2008 and a whopping 29 fewer than May 2005. For the year to date, there have been 32 commercial vessel passages as compared to 45 during the same period last year. In 2005 there were 94 passages - 62 more than the same period for 2009.

 

Updates - June 1

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Badger Gathering Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated Ships gallery updated

 

Sign up now for upcoming BoatNerd cruises

Several cruises have been planned by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping for interested boat watchers. Don't wait to make your reservations.  Don't be left out.

June 6 - Annual Boatnerd St. Clair River Cruise aboard the Huron Lady II
The annual BoatNerd trip on the St. Clair River aboard the Huron Lady II is scheduled for Saturday, June 6, following the Port Huron Marine Mart.

The Huron Lady II leaves at 5 p.m. from her dock next to the bridge in Port Huron. Hot dogs and beverages are available on board. BoatNerd price is just $12, but reservations are required. Tell them you are a Boatnerd to get the discount fare. Call 810-984-1500 for reservations. Parking and other information is available at www.HuronLady.com

June 26 - Engineer’s Weekend St. Marys River Cruise
Arrangements have been made to have a cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie.

The cruise will be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 26. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. The cruise will be three (3) hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and will do our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. A buffet dinner is included in the $35.00 per person cost. Dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and desert. There will be a cash bar on board.

Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. This will afford everyone enough space to take photos and enjoy themselves. Mail-in reservations must be received no later than Monday, June 22. If any space is available, reservations will be taken by Dave Wobser Wednesday evening in the Soo, or at the Soo Boatnerd Picnic before noon on Thursday, June 25. Call 419-722-5507 to locate. Click here for reservation form

August 8 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise
On Saturday, August 8, we will repeat the popular BoatNerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. Pizza for lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott II mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. Reservations are a must, as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. The cruise will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Click here for reservation form

 

Today in Great Lakes History - June 1

On 01 June 1903, ISAAC L ELLWOOD (steel propeller freighter, 478 foot, 5,085 gross tons, built in 1900, at W. Bay City, Michigan) broke the record for ore when she carried a cargo of 8,579 tons of ore out of Duluth harbor. This broke the record held by JOHN SMEATON (steel barge, 458 foot, 5,049 gross tons, built in 1899, at Superior, Wisconsin) which was 8,571 tons of ore.

The ASA CHILDS (wooden scow schooner, 125 foot, 204 gross tons, built in 1866, at Mentor, Ohio) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan when she was driven ashore at Highland Park just north of Chicago, Illinois on 01 June 1879, and was a total loss. The crew escaped in the lifeboat.

On 01 June 1914, the St. Joseph-Chicago Steamship Company bought the EASTLAND (steel propeller passenger steamer, 265 foot, 1,961 gross tons, built in 1903, at Port Huron, Michigan) from the Eastland Navigation Company for $150,000.

In 1943, the IRVING S OLDS collided with the 524 foot steamer CHARLES O JENKINS in heavy fog 28 miles northeast of Cleveland on Lake Erie and was holed eight feet above the water line. The OLDS was able to help the badly damaged JENKINS back to Cleveland by lashing the two vessels together. After a grueling seven hours the JENKINS was beached in the outer harbor to prevent her from sinking. The OLDS was repaired in time to carry a new record of 17,817 gross tons of iron ore on June 13, 1943.

In 1952, the steamer J L MAUTHE (Hull#298) was launched at Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge, Michigan for the Interlake Steamship Co.

The WHITEFISH BAY, loaded with 950,000 bushels of spring wheat, was honored as she carried the billionth metric ton of cargo through the Eisenhower Lock in 1983.

On June 1, 1907, the Great Lakes Engineering Works launched the bulk steamer WILPEN (Hull#28) at Ecorse, Michigan for the Shenango Steamship Co., a subsidiary of Shenango Furnace Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) DAVID P THOMPSON in 1926, and converted to a self-unloader in 1957, at Superior, Wisconsin. She was renamed c.) JOSEPH S YOUNG in 1969, and scrapped at La Spezia, Italy in 1979.

The H LEE WHITE departed Sturgeon Bay in ballast on her maiden voyage for the American Steamship Co., on June 1, 1974, to load iron ore at Escanaba, Michigan for Indiana Harbor.

June 1, 1902 - While northbound for Manistque, Michigan, the ANN ARBOR NO 1 went aground in a heavy fog about noon on South Manitou Island, but was able to free herself and to proceed undamaged.

June 1, 1938 - The PERE MARQUETTE 21, under the command of Captain Arthur Altschwager, was released from a sand bar in the outer harbor at Manitowoc at 1:06 p.m today after being aground for six hours. Her sister ship, the PERE MARQUETTE 22, commanded by J.F. Johnson, freed the ferry after taking a line and pulling the big ship back off the bar.

June, 1958, The ANN ARBOR NO 6 was taken out of service for extensive refitting. she was renamed b.) ARTHUR K ATKINSON.

On 1 June 1887, LUCINDA VAN VALKENBURG (wooden schooner, 129 foot, 302 gross tons, built in 1862, at Tonawanda, New York) collided with the iron steamer LEHIGH in fog and sank near Thunder Bay Island on Lake Huron. The crew was safely taken aboard the LEHIGH and brought to Port Huron.

On 1 June 1892, the steel bulk freighter CHOCTAW was launched at the Cleveland Shipbuilding Company (Hull #17) in Cleveland, Ohio for the Lake Superior Iron Company. Her dimensions were 207 feet x 38 feet x 18 feet and she had a triple expansion steam engine 17 feet, 29 inches, 47 inches x 36 inch stroke. She was built as "monitor" type vessel based on whaleback design with all her cabins aft. She lasted until sunk in a collision in 1915.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 



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